A Brief Guide to Shipping Fragile Items

A Brief Guide to Shipping Fragile ItemsFragile items, such as various gadgets, pottery, glassware, musical instruments etc., are prone to getting damaged in transit because, alas, they are not always handled with care, and even when they are, accidents happen. Luckily, there are ways to protect fragile items and minimize the risk of shipping damages. Here’s a brief guide to shipping fragile items that might come in handy.

Choose the Right Box

You don’t want your box be either too big or too small for the items inside. If there is too much free space in the box, its contents will shift around during transportation, which increases the risk of damages. If the box is too small, there will be no space for cushioning material that protects the contents. Besides, an overstuffed box can tear or break open while in transit.

The perfect box for shipping fragile items should be only slightly bigger than its contents so that there’s just enough space to be filled with cushioning material. Make sure that the box is made of sturdy material, for example, corrugated cardboard, which is reliable, inexpensive, and less likely to give in to outside pressure than regular cardboard. Ideally, you should use a new box; if you decide to reuse an old one, make sure it’s in pristine condition.

Protect the Items with Cushioning Material

There are different cushioning materials that are designed to fill empty space in the box and protect the items inside; make your choice depending on the items you’re shipping. If they don’t have their own individual packaging, wrap the items in bubble wrap or foam sheets. When shipping several items in one box, make sure to wrap each one individually.

Place the wrapped items in the box and fill the free space with cushioning material, for example, crinkle paper, packing peanuts, or airbags. Make sure that the contents of the box are protected with cushioning on all sides (left and right, front and back, top and bottom).

Arrange the Items Carefully

When shipping several fragile items together, it is important to arrange them properly inside the box, otherwise they might knock into one another during transportation. Heavier items should be placed at the bottom of the box and lighter items go on top of them, separated from the items on the bottom by a layer of cushioning material. If you’re shipping multiple items of roughly the same size (for example, Christmas ornaments), you can use plastic or cardboard partitions to keep them separated.

Make Sure the Package Is Properly Labeled

Fragile items are more likely to handled with care when they are labeled as such, so to protect them, write the word “Fragile” on the box in big letters to make it really stand out, attach a warning label, and/or seal the box with packing tape that has a warning message on it. To ensure the warning doesn’t go unnoticed, write “Fragile” on all sides of the box or use multiple warning stickers as long as they don’t cover the shipping label.

By the way, about the shipping label. Although it won’t protect the items inside the package from damage, it might come in handy in case its contents do get damaged because the shipping label normally contains information about the items in the package and their cost. If you’re printing your shipping labels yourself, we recommend that you print two copies. Affix one label to the box and put the other one inside. If something happens to the “main” shipping label, postal workers will open the package to try and determine where it should be sent.

Consider Purchasing Third-Party Insurance

If your fragile items are valuable to boot, you should consider paying a little extra for insurance. Of course, it won’t prevent damage, but at least you will be compensated if the shipment does get damaged in transit.

Shipments are usually already insured by the carrier unless you choose the cheapest shipping option, but basic insurance doesn’t always cover the entire cost of the items in the package. Splurging on additional shipping insurgence allows you to get a full refund if something happens to your package. Please keep in mind that in order to get a refund, you need to have receipts, invoices, or other proof of value.