Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Shipping Day!

Maintaining an online business has its advantages, such as being able to work from home, on one's own schedule, and even in your jammies if you wish. But, it also presents some interesting challenges – shipping being one of them.

Many online sellers prefer to purchase all their packing/shipping supplies new. Because I'm sort of a tightwad (as my mother used to say), and prefer to keep as much 'stuff' out of the landfill as possible, my packing methods combine both new supplies and others that are just a little bit 'out of the box'.

My new supplies are boxes and bubble mailers that can go first class, as well as bubble wrap and tissue. For Priority packages, I order boxes and mailers from the Post Office (usps.com) because most of them are free – and, they deliver them right to your door free of charge as well. (You do need to set up an account, but it's easy and there's no minimum order, unlike many other suppliers.) They also have a large variety of sizes.

Shipping day is always an adventure - especially when your packing materials are slightly unconventional. But, as one who prefers to recycle or re-use instead of tossing in the landfill, I take every opportunity to do just that. I want my customers to know that I take my job seriously, and appreciate their business. But, I also need to keep costs down, and do what I can for the environment. Some boxes I re-use if they're presentable, but I shy away from those static generating packing peanuts.

What goes inside often gets a huge chuckle. And, is appreciated by those who understand why I use what I use. Namely, those odd tins that are saved for me by friends and family.

This is how my shipping duties start - rounding up and making sure all those precious 'shipping containers' are sparkling clean.

You are correct, those are cookie and mint tins - they keep the small breakables safe in transit. The mint tins are the perfect size for most of the spinners' tools, buttons, stitch markers, some of my jewelry - anything small that needs to stay safe from breakage. The tall cookie tins are used for the orifice hooks - again, keeping them safe from damage.

That IS an egg carton off the left - I like to think of them as sorting trays. They're also good for spacers between the inner and outer boxes when double boxing larger items such as yarn bowls, mixing bowls, mugs, etc. But, let's get back to the littles. We'll go into the larger work another day.

Once each piece is safely encased in bubble wrap (one sheet of bubble wrap is used for each tin (cut apart into smaller pieces, of course, so that one quarter of the sheet cushions the contents, and one half is used to wrap the tin once it's been filled – the other quarter is cut in half again and rolled to cushion the wrapped tin inside the mailer), they go into their respective mailers - a bubble mailer for the flat tins, and a small box for the cookie tins.

The paper that surrounds the tin in the box? Don't go buying it – instead, head to your local newspaper and ask for roll ends. You may have to pay a dollar or two, or they may give it to you for no cost, depending on the paper (mine knows me, and calls me when they have a supply taking up room). But, it serves the purpose, saves more stuff from the landfill, and if you end up with more of the rolls than you know what to do with, the elementary school art teachers, and daycare providers will love you for sharing.

One layer in the bottom of the box, and another layer on top of the tin (or, whatever you need to ship).

And, there you have it – fiber dizzes and threaders, all packed safely in their bubble mailers, and orifice hooks in the box – sealed, labeled, and ready to head to the post office. Postage is purchased online for convenience (make sure you have a good, accurate scale) so that all the PO clerk has to do is scan, and drop the packages in the appropriate bins to start their journey to their respective destinations.

And, now, it's time for me to start my own packing and shipping for the day! But, before I do, there's a situation here that closely resembles this.....

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