You’ve spent hours decorating your care package and shopped at multiple stores to find just the right items. But now comes a very important step: packing the box! The last thing you want is for your loved one to receive a half-empty box filled with crushed crackers or items covered in shampoo. Care package bloopers are often the result of packing a box poorly, but there are some simple tips you can follow that will help your care package arrive intact and blooper-free.
How to pack a care package
Keep items in their original packaging
The trip to your loved one isn’t always a smooth one and while there’s no guarantee anything will make it overseas perfectly intact, keeping items in their original packaging can help! Crushable items like cookies and crackers can easily become dust during shipping, but their original box provides a little extra protection. It may be tempting to take them out of the box so they fit into smaller spaces, but they’re far more likely to get crushed. Original packaging also provides an extra layer of protection against bugs or rodents.
Place heavy or large items in the box first
Another way to protect more fragile contents is to place heavier items in the box first to keep them from crushing other items. Filling the box with larger items first helps you make sure all of the contents fit! Pack magazines (or other thin flat objects) on the very bottom and then add large (or heavy) square or rectangular items.
Put liquids or strongly scented items in plastic baggies
I’ve talked about this before, but when sending heavily scented items, you need to package them in a way to keep the smell from leaking out. The tight quarters and warm temps can cause the item’s scent to leak out and be absorbed by other items. For example, cookies may end up tasting like the soap you also sent. That’s not very tasty. Keeping these heavily scented items in their original package or putting them in a plastic baggie can help keep the smell contained. If you’re shipping any liquids, you’ll also want to put them in baggies (or even disposable plastic food storage containers) so that any leaks are also contained.
Select the right size box and fill it completely
Extra space in a box can cause items to shift during shipping, increasing the likelihood of them being damaged when they arrive. If you don’t have enough items to fill a large flat rate box, consider sending a medium box instead so that your box is fuller. The more completely you fill your box, the more stable everything inside it will be. Fill corners and empty spaces with smaller items like drink flavor packets, oatmeal packets or even extra socks.
Keep bottles or plastic containers from rubbing against each other
This seems like it contradicts the last tip, but there is such a thing as packing the box too tightly! If items rub together during shipping, they can create a hole and leak. Putting items in baggies or placing something in between them can help avoid any friction-related leaks.
Pack and re-pack until everything fits snuggly
Packing a care package is kind of like a puzzle! It may take you a few tries to get everything in there, but rearranging items a few times will usually lead you to a solution. I’m a big advocate for wrapping your care package’s contents, but that usually changes items’ size just enough that you may need to adjust your packing a bit.
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