If you're forever sending items through the mail to friends and relatives or - if you run a small business - customers, you'll know the packaging process can be pretty tedious. It also gets expensive quickly, especially if you're constantly buying new materials.

Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts you can take without risking your parcel’s deliverability. The parcel lifehacks listed below should help to make the whole task easier, quicker and more cost-effective. Introduce them into your regime and you'll be packaging happy in no time.

1. Be resourceful! - Cardboard, bubble wrap and parcel tape are all mailing staples, but it pays to think outside of the box every now and then (pun intended). Handy materials can be found in some less obvious places too. Take empty loo rolls for example - the fact that they're light, cheap and capable of absorbing shock makes them perfect gap-fillers. Free newspapers are just as handy if you screw them up enough. Think of it as direct recycling.

Old clothes are pretty handy too as they can be used to wrap smaller items thoroughly. What's more, they can be sent back and forth. Just make sure they're clean!

2. Make your own envelopes and boxes - We fully encourage the re-using of boxes and envelopes, but what happens if you don't have one suitable for the weirdly shaped item you want to send? Many people would head straight out in search of a new one, but there's nothing stopping you from making your own. All you need are some sharp scissors, strong glue/staples, thick tape, a marker pen and enough cardboard. Start by working out how big you need it and use the marker to draw a net template. Then, cut fold and glue or staple it all together before adding tape to secure the edges.

The same goes for envelopes. It may help to dismantle a store-bought envelope to understand the workings, then you just need to adjust the sizing when making your own.

3. Start printing labels - There's every chance your printer has been gathering dust next to your PC since everything went digital. Fear not though, it could help in your packaging efforts. Invest in the right paper and you'll be able to use your printer to produce bespoke shipping labels. You should be able to find template software online that allows you to type the destination address in a text box before printing however many you want onto adhesive white paper. Then, all you have to do is attach it over the previous address on a pre-used box or envelope and it's ready to go again.

If you're regularly sending out to customers, you might want to have labels showing your 'from' address ready and waiting to attach to the back of your packages. You could even add a bit of branding to the templates, to remind the parcel's recipient where it came from.


4. Be attentive - Remember to make sure your recycled boxes aren’t damaged, crushed or creased – especially where you might be placing labels or important information that will need to be scanned or read. Remove all old labels – or make sure they’re fully covered with new ones - to eliminate any confusion of where the parcel is going and where it’s coming from.


5. Don’t use black outer packaging - Black outer packaging, such as plastic wrap, should not be used. Automated parcel machinery can’t process it, meaning it takes longer to pass through sortation for domestic deliveries. In the case of internationally bound parcels, using black outer packaging is not allowed at all will result in your parcel being returned to you.

With simple hacks like these, packaging doesn't have to be expensive. Just add some great shipping deals from ipostparcels and you're ready to go!


Related content:

How to protect items in transit
How to save money on packaging
Waterproofing and packaging your parcel
How to package parcels for international delivery

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