A question is often asked, especially by new sellers to eBay about what to use, and where to buy the most cost effective packaging materials.
Obviously different products have different packaging requirements. Fragile items require much more padding to ensure they arrive safely whereas paper type items must arrive at their destination without creases or folds.
Here are a few ideas on where to source
Local Electrical Stores: Most often, the stores unpack their floor stock and dispose of the cardboard boxes, bubblewrap and polystyrene padding in the rubbish. All are wonderful for packaging!
Fabric Stores: If you have a need to roll paper items such as posters, the rolls which the fabric is sold from are usually also thrown out once the roll has been sold. These rolls are very long and can easily be chopped up and used as postage rolls. Simply ask and ye shall usually receive! For Free!
Shoe Stores: Do you often need boxes for packaging? You can pad the items in the box with newspaper (don't forget to wrap your items first, to protect them from newsprint). Shoe stores have boxes in various sizes - small childrens shoe boxes - great for small items and usually lovely and colourful - up to larger boxes used for boots. If you feel crafty you could even paint the boxes or cover them in pretty paper, stick a thank you note on the top, and you'll find these very useful indeed and of course FREE for the asking!
If you do need to buy anything such as padded post bags, try to buy these in bulk. We buy ours in 1,000 piece lots and that way, we pay a greatly reduced cost.
If you don't have a need for such high quantities, you could try to find someone who isn't too far from you and who might like to buy the larger amount together with you. Your local post office might even know of someone who might be interested! If that doesn't work and you're not sure how to find someone, you could create a post on one of the eBay discussion boards. Try that and see if anyone responds. You could get lucky and then both of you will get a great deal!
There are probably lots of other possibilities and these are just a few ... hopefully it'll just get you started on looking around for other opportunities to take advantage of FREE packaging!
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Lindy's Goodies aka Obemine