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Shipping is big business and posting parcels is a big part for all ebay sellers. Packaging materials that are a favourite with ebay sellers for posting items include bubble wrap, satchels, packing tapes, bubble mailers, void fill, paper or plastic bags, black shrink wrap, carton and custom boxes. These parcels are then dispatch Australia wide or to international destinations around the world via Australia Post or courier services.

Taking into consideration the different stages of shipping, the shipping process has to be taken into account when packing so that the parcel will arrive safely and in excellent condition. This process consists of packages being moved by conveyer belts, stacked into trucks, and transported over roads that are in good and poor conditions. Contents of packages are also subject to shock (dropping or bumping), to compression (stacked on top and under others) and to vibration (road conditions). Therefore always remember that proper cushioning materials, strong boxes or suitable packaging options and appropriate closure materials help protect your goods during shipment.

How fragile is the item to be shipped?

Not only glass, china or ceramic items need to be packed carefully, consider also that wood can crack, metal can bend or dent, fabric can wrinkle and corners on objects such as framed artwork or books can damaged during transit.

4 packaging rules to remember :

1. Use cartons in good, rigid condition, with all flaps intact.

Select a carton large enough to allow room for adequate cushioning material on all sides of the product. If you reuse a carton, be sure that it is in good condition with no punctures, tears, rips or corner damage. It is a good idea to wrap items individually in plain white tissue paper before adding cushioning materials such as void fill. The tissue paper will protect items from discoloration from the packing materials. You can also double protect fragile items such as chinaware or collectibles with tissue paper and wrapping them individually in bubble wrap and finally cushioning it with void fill.

HANDY TIP ! For those of you who are not familiar with shurtuff satchels these are similar to the Australia Post prepaid satchels but without the printing. These bags are extremely tough, waterproof and comes in 6 sizes from small to XXXL. Ideal for shipping anything and everything from clothes, handbags, jeans, toys to bulky boxed items.

#1 ~ MONEY SAVING TIP! Save on postage costs by shipping boxes in shurtuff satchels because under the Australia Post Cubing Rule, parcels sent in boxes will incur higher postage rates, but if the box was to be placed in a satchel it cannot be cubed by Australia Post. For those of you who like convenience in posting, buying bulk lot of Australia Post prepaid satchels (regular and express) is also a great time and money saving way to post. Just type in 'Australia Post satchels' on ebay search and you can get great deals with bulk lots listed on ebay.

#2 ~ MONEY SAVING TIP! Recycle cereal cartons are great for posting scrapbooking paper and other items.

2. Use adequate materials or cushioning to protect contents

If more than one item is packed, the items must not touch each other or the corners or sides of the carton. It is a good idea to wrap the individual items in plain white tissue paper before adding cushioning materials.

Several kinds of cushioning material are available :

Butchers paper (similar to takeaway or deli paper) is the best choice. Though old newspaper might be easier to get and cheaper, the newspaper ink is highly unstable and may come off onto anything it touches.

Bubblewrap is more expensive, but very effective in protecting items. They come in different width and size of bubbles ranging from 10mm to 20mm.

Void Fill Biodegradable is best. Styrofoam bits also make effective cushioning but can be a choking hazard when opening in front of young children or pets.

Pack several inches of cushioning materials in the bottom of the carton. Then wrap items separately and place them in the centre of the carton. The further you keep fragile articles away from the corners and sides, the less chance there is of damage.

Pack cushioning material firmly around, over and between the items. Shake the box to be sure that nothing rattles and to settle the packing material. Add more cushioning material if necessary.

3. Use proper materials for closing the package.

The key is to use the carton sealing packing tape designed for shipping. Do not use masking tape or cellophane tape for these tapes do no provide the strength necessary for good closures. Do not use string or wrap the box in thin paper. String may break and paper wrapping may tear if caught on automatic equipment or during handling. If the outer wrap is lost, the address information may be lost with it. Do not use staples-they could pop out if the package is subjected to shock.

To close a carton securely, use one of the recommended strong tapes below :

Acrylic packing tape is generally the easiest to use. Apply three strips of tape to both the top and bottom of the carton, one across where the flaps meet or overlay and one on each end across the seam. These tapes are also excellent for sticking bubblewrap together or sealing recycle cartons or boxes as it doesn't tear easily. They come in clear or brown with different width and length to suit your need and application.

4. Use proper labeling to ensure proper delivery

Remove or black out any old label information on recycle packing materials. Place the label on the top of the carton ie. the most stable side of the box and not over the seams or tape. If using packing slip information, place them on the same side as the address label. Do not put labels on any other surface of the carton.

The address must include the Post Code of the receiver with the complete street address. When addressing to a PO Box or Rural Route destination, include the recipient's telephone number on the label. Include the apartment number for all multi-unit dwelling addresses.

If there is any possibility that the label might come off or that the writing might smear, cover it completely with a wide band of acrylic tape.

Always include your complete return address with your Post Code and full address. For added protection, place a duplicate label inside the package.

Unusual items

Some items require special consideration when being packaged for shipping such as large artwork, skis, roof rack, bicycle or car parts, surfing boards, baby walkers, rockers and various other akward or bulky shaped items. Protect pointed areas with tape, enclose paper in corrugated paper tubes, double box fragile items. For advise with packing unusual items or handy packing tips, feel free to contact us for professional suggestions to ensure your packing is both cost effective and the best for your situation.

Checklist for safe packaging

Rigid carton with flaps intact.

Use satchels to beat the cubing rule.

Adequate cushioning material.

Strong tape designed for shipping.

No string or paper over wrap.

Single address label.

A clear, complete delivery address

A clear complete return address

Duplicate label inside carton.

Indicate which end of the box should be opened first or face up. Sometimes breakable merchandise will make an entire cross country trip in one piece, only to smash on the customer's floor because he opened it the wrong side up.

Place heavier or larger items on the bottom of the box and lighter ones on top.


Note : Please vote so that we know that this guide have been of help to you and your ebay selling. Thank you.

All the best from the Giftpac Team.

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