From boxes, bags and bubble wrap to tissue sheets and Tenzalopes, you should be able to find your packaging and storage materials here. Getting packaging right the first time will save you a lot of time in the future, keeping your office tidy, your wares protected and your customers happy.
What packaging materials should I get?
Choosing the right packaging materials is vital, whether you are packing your own goods for storage or packing products to send to customers. Here's what you should consider when deciding what packaging materials to get:
How fragile or robust are the contents?
Are we talking cushions, second-hand books or Ming vases?
How valuable are the contents?
You may want to protect some items more than others.
How heavy are the contents?
The heavier the goods, the sturdier the packaging needs to be, regardless of fragility.
How will packaging impact on shipping costs?
You may want to pack as compactly as you can and minimise the weight of packaging materials where possible.
If in doubt, err on the side of caution as you may find that cutting costs on packaging at an early stage costs you a lot more in the long run.
The first commercial cardboard box was manufactured in 1817 in England. By the turn of the twentieth century, cardboard boxes were ubiquitous and starting to replace wooden crates as packaging, helped along by foodstuffs like cornflakes which utilised cardboard packaging.
Most “cardboard boxes” nowadays are in fact made of corrugated fiberboard, not cardboard, but the name “cardboard box” endures.
Everyone's favourite packaging material, bubble wrap is a transparent plastic material with protruding air-filled hemispheres. Bubble wrap cushions fragile and breakable objects from harm. Use multiple layers of bubble wrap to provide extra protection where you see fit.
Aside from its protective qualities, bubble wrap is popular because of the pleasure derived from popping its “bubbles”, an activity inherently satisfying and seen to have a cathartic effect. The popularity and ubiquity of this activity is such that a portable bubble wrap popping simulator, called Eternal Poppety-Pop, has been manufactured in Japan. This keyring-sized game allows users to pop plastic bubbles, which are then replenished immediately and repeatedly. There are also virtual popping games on the web.
Kraft paper is strong and relatively coarse paper produced by the kraft process from wood pulp. It is used, amongst other things, in grocery bag and envelope packaging. It is a robust paper suitable for a variety of packaging uses, including wrapping books and thick documents.
Stretch and shrink wrap is ideal for wrapping books, CDs and DVDs. Because these wraps seal so comprehensively, this sort of wrapping is suitable for tamper resistance, protecting objects from damp and keeping things free from contamination (hence use with perishable foods). Shrink wrap shrinks when heat is applied while stretch wrap seals tightly because of its high elasticity.
Tenzalopes are self-adhesive packing list envelopes that protect documentation while making documents visble and ensuring documents arrive along with the goods. You see the sort of thing when you get a package from a mail order company.