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how do i ship a heavy 5" binder without a box?
April 7, 2006 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a 5" binder full of papers, it weighs about 10-12 pounds. I need to ship it via USPS (so no FedEx, DHL, UPS).

It's a long story as to why USPS only, but there it is. I don't have any good size boxes. They're either too small, or too big (the size of copy paper boxes). So it seems like a box is out unless I want to shell out big bucks to buy an appropriately sized one.

So, what are my options? How should I package this binder so that the materials get there intact?

It's only going from PA to NY, not overseas.
posted by misanthropicsarah to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
 
This doesn't answer your question, but USPS will give you a free box.
You can even get one with an e-bay logo.
posted by Floydd at 12:43 PM on April 7, 2006


I have a couple of those. Unfortunately, they're not the right size.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:45 PM on April 7, 2006


Have you considered cutting a copy paper size box down to the size you need? It's a simple task if you have a utility knife or box cutter on hand.
posted by buggzzee23 at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2006


remember to save $ on postage by shipping it using the Media rate. (Unless it positively absolutely has to get there within a reasonable amount of time)
posted by Gungho at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, I "make" boxes all the time to solve similar problems. The solution is cardboard patchwork. Duct tape is your friend.
posted by cribcage at 12:50 PM on April 7, 2006


USPS ships by weight, so there's no real downsize to using a larger box as long as the contents don't shift [stuff it with other packing material] and as long as it's not oversized. If appearance of the package doesn't matter, you can always wrap it tightly in several layers of brown paper [think supermarket bags] and put a professional looking label on it. Otherwise, make a USPS box bigger or a copy paper box smaller.
posted by jessamyn at 12:52 PM on April 7, 2006


That flat rate is $8.10 (box and USPS postage inclusive) each, and they're very sturdy. Can't you just split the binder's contents in two, for mailing in a pair of 11.875" X 3.375" X 13.625" boxes? Let the recipient take care of putting them into a new binder.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:53 PM on April 7, 2006


What are the dimensions? A 5" binder full of papers should measure 5" X 12" X 12" by my reckoning, so a 12" x 12" x 8" box would work. What am I missing?
posted by Floydd at 12:57 PM on April 7, 2006


remember to save $ on postage by shipping it using the Media rate.

Nope, not allowed. (Unless the papers have medical information on them to be distributed to health care providers.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:21 PM on April 7, 2006


Take 2 of their largest free priority mail boxes, slit them down the side and retape them around the binder to make one large box. If you want to ship priority, tape the boxes with the colored side out, otherwise, tape them with the brown side out.

If they're STILL too small, find a regular cardboard box and cut it down to size. Easy.
posted by kdern at 2:03 PM on April 7, 2006


Whatever you send it in, wrap it in several layers of Saran Wrap. Unless that'll make it look bad for a client.
posted by Alt F4 at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2006


Make sure you put a copy of the to and from addresses on the binder. Use a huge rubber band to secure the binder closed, then put in a plastic bag. Once in a while a package gets really bunged up. 2 paper box lids make a good package.
posted by theora55 at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2006


Wrap it (present style) in a brown paper grocery bag. Use lots of packing tape, being sure to reinforce all the corners and edges. Then repeat the process. In the end you'll have a double-layered super-reinforced package.

I can't believe nobody has suggested this.
posted by elisabeth r at 6:45 PM on April 7, 2006


Nope, not allowed. (Unless the papers have medical information on them to be distributed to health care providers.)
After reading that link I now know that player piano rolls are considered eligible for media mail... You learn something new every day.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:04 AM on April 8, 2006


Wrap it (present style) in a brown paper grocery bag.

I think the USPS frowns on wrapping paper, which this is equivalent to.
posted by neuron at 11:20 PM on April 9, 2006


Wrapping paper and brown "paper bag" paper are two different things USPS-wise. The latter is generally accepted for shipping packages in because it's heavier and sturdier.
posted by jessamyn at 4:02 AM on April 10, 2006


Are FedEx boxes the right size? Or bags? I can tell you from personal experience that with a little effort and precision you can turn them inside-out and use them.
posted by phearlez at 3:25 PM on April 10, 2006


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