We’re often asked by individuals and business clients to describe safe packaging and shipping best practices for various types of freight. From selecting the proper shipping boxes and shipping supplies to correct labeling, the key to shipping boxes safely starts with the fundamentals.

Keep in mind that the shipper is responsible for packaging the shipment and labeling it well enough to protect the contents from damage during normal transportation. But the experts at Approved can answer your questions about packaging or provide you with a customized list of packaging guidelines for your shipment.

Shipping best practices: general guidelines

Following the basics of safe packaging can help ensure that whatever you pack inside your shipping boxes will reach its destination in good condition and on time. Here are our recommendations:

1. Start with new, sturdy shipping boxes with all flaps intact.

The structural integrity of the box should be perfect at the beginning of the shipping process.

2. Select a box strength that protects the package contents.

There are many types, strengths, and weights of boxes. Here is a quick guide to help you make the right decision and understand the differences.

3. Pack smaller boxes or chipboard boxes inside a corrugated outer box.

Wrap items individually with a couple of inches of cushioning around each one, and more cushioning against the sides of the box.

4. Use the proper shipping supplies: cushioning materials, strong tape, and appropriate labeling.

The box is just the first layer of defense against rough handling. What goes in, on and around the box all play a role in reducing the effects of transport. Using adequate polystyrene foam, and making sure your boxes are properly labeled, goes a long way in protecting your product. Always close boxes with strips of strong tape. The Approved experts have found nylon reinforced filament and pressure sensitive sealants work best to keep items inside.

5. Layer boxes to reduce the impact on the items from handling.

Using different weights and sizes of boxes will help ensure your product stays safe. Place heavier items in double-wall boxes, and double-box fragile items, with three inches of cushioning around the smaller inside box. This will also help protect items which could be damaged by routine handling (dirt, scuff marks, labels).

6. Make sure there is a label, business card or some form of identification inside the box.

A lot of hands and surfaces will come in contact with your package between origin and destination.  Sometimes outside labels can be damaged, torn or mistakenly removed. To ensure all carriers and handlers know where it is going, include contact information inside.

7. Complete and apply the correct labeling to each of the shipping boxes.

Often overlooked, the outside of the package is one of the most vital pieces in packaging safety. All of your hard work in packaging your freight will only pay off if the items reach their destination. Origin and Destination are must-haves for shipping label information.  But all carriers have different sets of criteria, so it is best to check with your shipping partner to make sure you include the necessary information. They may even have a template or provide you with a printable packaging label!


With these tips, you should be ready to confidently start shipping boxes safely. If you aren’t sure about how to package certain items, need to ship items to a distant or unfamiliar destination, or if you’re simply pressed for time, why not let Approved handle your packaging and shipping needs? We have over 20 years of experience and take pride in providing white-glove service to individuals and companies worldwide.

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