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The Art Of Packing And Shipping Collectibles

Packing and shipping is an integral aspect of retail sales. It is becoming more important due to online shopping sites where 99.9% of sales are shipped to destinations around the world.  Yes, it is an art.

Working in the retail sales business for a couple of decades both in brick and mortar stores and online, we have extensive experience in the art of packing.

The point to this post is to give a short tutorial on the packing and shipping experience as a direct result of an extremely poorly packed shipment I received the other day.

I bought two beautiful Asian collectors plates on eBay from a large store who specialized in coins. I received the package and was shocked at the packing of this box. It arrived in a large flat rate box which measures 12 x 12 x 8. I opened the box and found at the very top an empty priority mail flat rate envelope and underneath, the two plates which were loosely wrapped in bubble wrap broken into dozens of pieces. At the bottom of the box was another empty priority mail flat rate envelope. The problem here was not the post office. It was the disastrous packing methods of this seller. There was no cushioning around the plates whatsoever and the box was too big. The plates were bumping into each other and around the box because there was no cushion.


Basically they put the first plate on bubble wrap, with the second plate on top of that and wrapped it with tape so of course, damage was inevitable.

My thinking is, if you do not know how to pack ceramics and glass, you should not be in the business of selling them.  The seller however, made good on this particular sale and refunded my money.

Tutorial:  The best way to ship an item is to double box it if at all possible.  This is why flat rate shipping boxes from the USPS are great for shipping collectibles and anything that has the potential for breakage.  'If it fits, it ships" are true to their word and you can ship anything under 70 lbs. at their box rates.  So, as a result, double boxing, even though adding to the weight of the entire shipment, doesn't matter.

The item should be securely bubble wrapped and if there are any parts of the item that protrude, such as wings on a bird figurine or something of that nature, they either should be bubble wrapped or with paper securely wrapped before the entire item is bubble wrapped.  Once the bubble wrap procedure is complete, the item should be placed into a box and cushioned by newspaper so there is a tight fit.  That box should be placed into a larger box filled with packing peanuts.  This is the most secure way to avoid damage when shipping.

If for some reason you cannot double box, then cushion the shipping box with newspaper and packing peanuts.  It is also advisable to secure the item in place by taping or anchoring the item with cardboard in the shipping box so it does not move around.  That is the key, whatever is in that box should not move around.

Bottom line is, if you care about what you sell, it will show in your packing techniques.

One more tip, never send anything, no matter how flat it is in a bubble mailer.  If it is something that can break, put it in a box.  I learned that today.

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Reader Comments  (4)

Pacesetter | June 5th 2012 at 1338906705

Wonderful blog ~it really is an art and a science and I learned some new tips ~thanks! Pam
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ZenGirl | June 5th 2012 at 1338907277

And always insure just to be safe. UPS rates are good. USPS rates are beat by many including and they also reimburse shipping cost with their insurance.

Double packing has been a practice of mine for years -- especially for delicate or expensive pieces.

Some of the best advice here that I've ever seen. Note keeping the item from moving in the box. Vibration kills as many packaged items as do bumps and bruises in transit.

Job well done!
Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | June 8th 2012 at 1339161941

Great tips! Thanks for the reminders! ;-D | June 23rd 2012 at 1340453812

Great blog. Packing is THE most important part after a sale. With the free flat rate boxes from the shipping companies, it costs nothing to double box after you have bubble wrapped. A suggestion I picked up on another site: after you have wrapped the piece and are ready to put in the box, fill a plastic grocery bag with peanuts and tie it off. That keeps the peanuts from shifting allowing your piece to work it's way down to bare box during transit. It works and allows us to recycle all those grocery bags we end up with.

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