Use appropriately-sized shipping boxes and envelopes. Using containers that are too large for the items being sent means you have to use more packaging materials to fill up the void spaces. Aside from getting charged more for shipping fees, those extra packaging only ends up in a dumpster somewhere. If you can, cut large boxes to size before packing your items. If sending a small item, cut padded envelopes in half and use tape to seal the opening. Keep the other half and use when shipping another small item.
If an item is already in a well-packed box, just wrap the box in shipping paper to avoid spending on another box. Paper grocery bags can be recycled and used as wrapper for these boxes.
The USPS flat rate service is a cost-efficient way to ship heavy items. Flat rate boxes are available for free at your local post office or order some for the USPS website. You can ship anything that can fit into these boxes anywhere in the US for one flat fee.
Compare prices to get the best deal. The USPS and other commercial carriers such as UPS and FedEx have shipping calculators in their websites. Use these free online tools to determine which company offers the best rate for your item. All you need to do is provide your packed item’s weight and dimension.
If you are a frequent recipient of shipments, you might have accumulated shipping boxes and packing materials. Recycle and re-use these supplies to ship your own items. Just make sure to use boxes that are still sturdy and can provide protection to your items.
Do not buy packing materials if you have lots of newspaper and magazines lying around in the house. Use them to wrap your items before placing in a shipping box or crumple them to fill voids and cushion your items. Old documents that are headed for the garbage bin can be shredded and used as fillers.
If you need any type of packaging, you can usually get it for free by asking your neighborhood stores. These stores usually just discard packaging supplies that came with the merchandise they are selling. For instance, if you are shipping a bike, ask you local bicycle chop if they have any bike boxes you can use. They would be most happy for you to come and pick up all of their packing or shipping supplies rather than letting them go to waste. Plus, they won’t have to drive the items to a recycling or trash collecting facility.