With just 10 days until Christmas and with Hanukkah getting underway Tuesday at sundown. Chances are many of you are packing up gifts to mail off to loved ones and friends. 7 On Your Side talked to the pros for tips on making sure your package arrives in one piece.
The Post Office is in full gear. During the holidays, it will process an average of 550 million cards, letters and packages a day.
On its busiest day, the U.S. Postal Service will handle 640 million shipments. The people who sort and deliver your packages are as careful, but there's a lot you need to do. The last thing someone wants to do is open a gift that's broken into a million pieces.
"It's definitely is pretty disheartening. It's Christmas time, nobody wants to receive a broken Christmas present," Tony Sandoval said.
Sandoval is general manager of the moving company You Move Me. The company packs a lot of boxes each year, so there are some words of caution from the U.S. Postal Service that resonates with him.
"The number one reason for it arriving damaged is because it's just not packed very well or flimsy box was used," James Wigdel from the USPS said.
Tip No. 1 -- Don't reuse packing boxes. The fibers on the box break down each time it's used. Instead, get a free new box available in various sizes from the Post Office, Ups and Federal Express.
Tip No. 2 -- Protect anything fragile, like a glass vase, with bubble wrap or other packing material. The same would apply for something like cookies. Wrap each baked good with cellophane for extra protection.
"So unfortunately what happens if they're packed loose like this is they will move around. As you can see, they do shuffle around, and they will break," Sandoval said.
Tip No. 3 -- Use a box within a box for added support. Again, use lots of packing material around your item inside your box. Then put more packing material outside the box within the box.
"So it's going to be supported on three different layers and three different levels of protection," Sandoval said.
Tip No. 4 -- Use plenty of packing tape. Just using one piece of tape raises the risks of having the box give in the middle.
"We like to use three here in the center and the reason why is because the center tape here it's easier from the other side to be pushed in," Robert Robicheaux from You Move Me said.
Use more along the edges to close off any gaps that might snag and cause the box to be ripped open.
Tip No. 5 -- inquire about insurance.
"If you go with Priority Mail, that's one of more of our speedier products. It comes with insurance. Comes with $50 free insurance," James Wigdel of USPS said.
Do all the things we suggested and your loved ones should get your gift in one piece.
These same packing tips also apply to non-breakable items such as clothing. Packing your gifts securely helps protect them from the elements. One final piece of advice: always put the address of your recipient both inside and outside the box just in case your shipment is accidentally ripped open.
7 On Your Side: Tips for how to correctly pack a box