How To Safely Package Fragile Items
Pretty much everything can now be bought online, and for the consumer that usually makes life both easier and cheaper. Okay, there’s not the satisfaction of being able to use/wear/play with your new purchase immediately, but that’s easily replaced by the tingle of expectation and the rush of delight when it arrives.
Inevitably, ordering something online and having it delivered to your home or workplace means it has to pass through the hands of a third party, whose commitment to the welfare of the parcel in question is likely to be less than that of both the sender and the recipient.
And if what you’re sending is delicate and/or fragile, that means there is a greater potential for that rush of delight mentioned earlier to be rapidly replaced by a crushing sense of disappointment. Packaging such items in the correct way is therefore vital.
Here, then, are six of the best solutions readily available from any good online packaging supplier.
1 Bubble wrap
Bubble wrap remains one of the most popular choices, and not just because it’s good at its job. It’s flexible, light, inexpensive and provides hours of fun and invaluable stress relief once its main task has been accomplished. When inventors Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes stuck two pieces of shower curtain together in 1957, they were actually trying to create a new kind of wallpaper – it was only later that the qualities for which it is now taken for granted became apparent. Choose the one with small bubbles for greater flexibility and for wrapping your more delicate items, while the bigger bubbles provide bigger protection for bulkier things.
2 Packing peanuts
Like bubble wrap, loose fill packing peanuts are a traditionally popular – and very effective – protective packaging solution. The design, as originally patented in 1962 by one Robert E Holden, of Aloha, Oregon, is more ingenious than you might have realised; the individual ‘peanuts’ aren’t just soft and cushioning, they also interlock in such a way that any shifting in transit is prevented, a valuable and highly effective safety mechanism. Also like bubble wrap, however, it can be bulky to store, although if you have the vertical space in your workplace, you can get large ‘gravity hoppers’ from which to feed them straight into your cartons, which keeps them well out of harm’s way.
3 Air cushion packaging
If the storage problem that is often the result of using large amounts of bubble wrap and/or packing peanuts affects you, then perhaps you ought to try air cushion packaging. With all the benefits of both the above and more – you can get ‘profiles’ to wrap, interleave, block and brace and fill a void – but much easier and cheaper to transport and store. That’s because you don’t add the air (the major component of those bulkier alternatives) until you’re ready to pack. And over time, it’s also more economical to use, as you get more cubic feet of protection for your pound than either of the above.
4 Egg box foam
Probably not an economical choice for everyday things, but perfect for more valuable products like electronics and glassware, which need something relatively solid to hold them in place away from the box and absorb any knocks. It’s also good for absorbing sound, which means that it is also regularly used for soundproofing rooms.
5 Edge and corner protection
Large and heavy products, such as furniture and paintings may be difficult to ‘break’, as such, but they can easily be scuffed and scratched, especially at the more vulnerable parts, the edges and corners. Covering those parts with appropriately shaped bits of cardboard, plastic or foam is a sensible precaution then, as the potential cost of any damage caused can be significant.
6 Silica gel
Protecting the contents of your parcels doesn’t just mean adding extra cushioning to ward off the bumps and knocks of a careless courier. Many items can be damaged by damp and condensation, so having something to soak up any moisture in the air can be a real bonus. If you don’t know what silica gel is, you’ll certainly have come across it at some point in the form of sachets of granules, usually inside boxes containing electronics or wooden products.
These are some of the most popular choices for packaging delicate and fragile goods, but if there isn’t anything that immediately catches your eye as being suitable for your needs, ask your packaging supplier for advice.