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Q: Shipping boxes ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Shipping boxes
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: steve0-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2002 03:18 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2002 03:18 PST
Question ID: 94041
I am moving from College Park MD to Memphis Tennessee and am looking
for a cheap reliable way to ship a bunch of boxes of stuff. Please
provide me with the best such ways you can find and give me an idea of
the cost.

Request for Question Clarification by hummer-ga on 31 Oct 2002 03:57 PST
Hi Steve0,

Please provide more details on what you mean by a "bunch of boxes".
For example:

Number of boxes
Average weight of each
Average size 
Percent of boxes marked "Fragile"

Are these boxes you bought from a moving company, or some that you
picked up at the grocery store?  Are they strong?  Will the boxes be
well packed and taped shut (something you would do to send something
through the USPS) or just closed without taping?  If you think of
anything else, let us know - the more information you can provide, the
more accurate our answer can be.

Thank you,

Clarification of Question by steve0-ga on 31 Oct 2002 09:03 PST
I have not yet packed. I have some professional strong boxes and some
ordinary grocery boxes but if I know a place where I could buy good
boxes if you suggest that I do so. My plan was to pack heavy and
fragile things in good boxes and clothes and lighter things in cheaper
boxes but if you suggest that I buy all good boxes I will do so. I
will tape all things shut as well as possible. I am just guessing, but
I estimate that there will be
about five boxes of books about 20 pounds a piece
about five boxes of papers about 20 pounds a piece
about four boxes of clothes about 8 pounds a piece 
and some boxes of things.I will make an effort to ship as few fragile
things as possible, maybe one box marked fragile.
My professional boxes are about 6 inches by one foot by two feet and I
figure that should be about the norm although I may use smaller boxes
for very heavy things.
If you suggest that I alter this plan your suggestion will be taken
into consideration. I will tape all boxes shut as well as possible.

Request for Question Clarification by hummer-ga on 31 Oct 2002 16:02 PST
Hi Steve0,

Sorry for the delay, we've been out all day.  Thanks for the info, it
is all very helpful.

Two more questions - if you could give me the zip codes for the two
address, that would be great, and, what month will you be moving?

Subject: Re: Shipping boxes
Answered By: alexander-ga on 31 Oct 2002 19:55 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The least expensive way of shipping printed matter is via the Post
Office's Media Mail service. As hummer made allusion to, exact zip
codes are technically required for exact prices, so I selected two
random zip codes in College Park, MD (20742) and Memphis, TN (38103).
As rates are usually established with rather large "zones", I strongly
suspect that the shipping rates below will not differ at all from the
actual rates for your zip codes.

A 20 pound box of printed matter (books or papers) will cost $7.84 to
ship via Media Mail, with an estimated arrival time of 5 days.

Post Office Media Mail: $7.84
FedEx Ground: $8.87
UPS Ground: $11.97
Post Office's standard Parcel Post service: $15.20

Postal Regulations do not permit the shipment of clothes or other
"random" items via Media Mail, but it has been known to happen.

For your 8-pound boxes of clothes:

FedEx Ground: $6.40
UPS: $8.53
Post Office Parcel Post: $9.84
and, for reference, Media Mail: $4.24

So, assuming ten 20-pound boxes of printed matter (Media Mail) and ten
8-pound boxes of other stuff (FedEx Ground), you're looking at around
$140 to ship it all.

Also, the larger the boxes, the greater the savings. If you somehow
managed to pack the 280 pounds of stuff (even the books and papers)
securely into four 70-pound boxes (the heaviest allowed by FedEx), it
would cost only $84.32 to ship all four via FedEx Ground. Pricing will
be between the two extremes for box weights between the two extremes.

I doubt any moving service would be competitive for this small
quantity, and even finding someone with a vehicle to drive there and
back would hardly be worth it.

For FedEx Ground, take your packages to:

FedEx staffed FedEx World Service Center
Inside Kinko's
4417 Hartwick Ave
College Park, MD 20740
(Mon-Fri 3:30pm-7:30pm, closed Sat and Sun)

If you end up deciding to use UPS for any packages, I would STRONGLY
suggest using the UPS Customer Counter at one of the following

8440 Ardwick-Ardmore
Landover, MD 20785 (4.8 miles from College Park)
6335 Sweitzer Rd
Laurel, MD 20707 (8.4 miles from College Park)
(both Mon-Fri, 8am-7pm, closed Sat and Sun)

I would NOT recommend using a "UPS Authorized Shipping Location" like
a Mailboxes, Etc., as they will charge inflated shipping rates,
sometimes GREATLY inflated. (i.e. several TIMES the standard rate. Can
you tell I've made this mistake myself?)

As far as packing, you're best off wrapping fragile items (which
shouldn't be *that* fragile) IN clothes. "Fragile" markings mean very
little to the Post Office, and mean "throw harder" to UPS. I'm not
kidding. You should pack items so that they do not suffer damage if
dropped from carrying height, and tape boxes securely. (Once across
the top and once on each top edge, with appropriate packing tape,
should be sufficient.)

Post Office rate calculator:

UPS rate calculator:

FedEx rate calculator:
steve0-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
This rating refers to the answer and additional comment taken
together. This question was both because I needed the answer and
because I wanted to test your service. I will recommend your service
to others.

Subject: Re: Shipping boxes
From: brightshadow-ga on 31 Oct 2002 16:15 PST
The cheapest way to ship all your stuff would be to find a friend with
a van, pack all the stuff appropriately in said van, and give said
friend gas money to drive there and back with you. :)
Subject: Re: Shipping boxes
From: hummer-ga on 01 Nov 2002 03:39 PST
Hi again Steve0,

I was hoping to respond to your query as we have extensive experience
with shipping, especially books. Alexander-ga has provided excellent
figures and links, but I would just like to add a word about packing.

Boxes: Go to the supermarket and choose cubes rather than flat boxes.
Look at the edges of the cardboard and compare the thickness - the
thicker the better. You will find most boxes are rated for strength -
look for the edge crush number (usually the higher the number the
stronger the box). Double corregated boxes are the best.

Tape: Duct tape isn't pretty but it works fine if you don't want to
spring for "box tape". Don't skrimp on tape - tape all edges and
double-tape if the boxes are very heavy.

Wrapping: While you are at the supermarket, pick up some of the brown
paper grocery bags. Cut off the bottoms, slit it open. Putting the
printed side in, you can use these to cover the boxes, taping all

Packing: Do not put all of the fragile stuff in the same boxes
together - mix the clothes and the fragile stuff together. Keep
anything fragile away from the sides and away from each other. Wrap
them well inside articles of clothing or towells.
Pack the book boxes tightly. Ideally, the books should be wrapped in
plain paper, and then newspaper, before packing. Stack them inside the
box according to size. Fill all spaces with something (crumpled
newspaper). The idea is you don't want the books rattling around and
bumping into each other.

I agree with alexander-ga that Media Mail is the way to go for the
books and paper. Finding good strong square boxes at the market, you
should be able to make 30 to 40 pound boxes easily, which will cost
less in than end than 20 pound boxes.

Good luck with your move - I hope this helps. Remember, it is
impossible to "over-pack".

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