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Packing Pointers

Packaging, taping and labeling your shipment properly helps ensure that it will arrive on time and in good condition.

If damage occurs to your package, the carriers will not cover the claim on a package not packed to their standards. Jensen's Mail & Copy takes pride in exceeding the demands set by the carriers. One of the fun things we packed was a 36 inch Yoda that had been sold on E-Bay.

If you want to see some examples of what happens when you don't package properly, click here. For more on how to do it right, read on...

1. Start with the Right Address

Make sure you have the right address. If at all possible, a day-time contact phone for the recipient is helpful, too. The zip code is the most important part of the address. If you're unsure of the zip code, you can check it here.
Keep your options open...if the address you have is a Post Office Box, call the recipient and get a street address as well.
For an extra measure of safety, place a duplicate address label inside the box.

2. Choose a Good Outer Box

Always start with a new or "like new" condition box. The more a boxed is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities. It should have no tears or rips that can be snagged and ripped further during shipping. The box should be a corrugated cardboard box. Boxes that aren't corrugated provide almost no protection during shipping. 
Chose a box strength that is suitable for the weight of item. Box strengths are usually printed on the bottom of the box, but beware...the printed rating is for palletized shipping, not common-carrier shipping. We'd encourage you to use only half of the rated weight (e.g., a box rated for 50 lbs for palletized shipping should only have 25 lbs. for common carrier shipping). 
Don't pack heavy items and fragile items in the same box...or consider double-boxing the fragile items.
Don't use string or paper over-wrap on the outside of the box. Either can get caught on the conveyor belts used in shipping!
The size of the box is important. If it is too big, you may have to pay more to ship it than needed. If it is too small and the fragile item is too close to the sides, your item may be damaged. (If you'd like us to pack it, Jensen's can make a custom box for your shipment! We do this for many of the larger items we ship.)


3. Carefully Cushion Fragile Items in the Box with Bubble Wrap

It is very important to provide appropriate cushion around the item. Plan for the worst and pack it to survive multiple 3 foot drops. In theory, that shouldn't happen, but...
Fragile items need to be surrounded with at least 3 inches of cushioning on each side (even more on the smaller sides of electronics, for example). This protection is very important and aids in the prevention of impact and vibration damage that passes from the outside of the box to the contents inside.
Use liberal amounts of bubble wrap around fragile items. Packing "peanuts" can be used to fill in the empty spaces, but don't count on them for much cushioning. Styrofoam sheets can also be very useful. The items should not be able to move in the box at all. Give the box a shake, if it moves, it is not secured enough for shipping. 
Double boxing fragile items with cushioning products in between is often well worth the effort for high-value or especially fragile items.

4. Close the Box Securely with Packing Tape

Proper closure is as important as adequate cushioning. Use a strong tape, two inches or more in width, such as pressure sensitive plastic or nylon-reinforced tape. Apply at least four or more strips to the top and bottom. (One common problem with reusing boxes is that they have gotten dusty and the tape doesn't stick well...another good reason to use a new box!)
Do not use masking tape, duct tape, household cellophane tape or string. 
Make sure that you tape any jagged edges that were cut, so that they are not open for a snag or rip.

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Contact us at 415-282-2100 or info@jensens-sf.com with any questions or visit us in the Diamond Heights Safeway Shopping Center.
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