Ah, the joys of shipping, of labeling packages, of bubble wrap, sing to me of box dimensions...
I actually enjoy shipping. I like organizing, and sticking labels on boxes, and typing in addresses. It's a weakness. Most kids like getting new clothes for their birthday; I was entranced by office supplies.
I buy my boxes from Uline I generally use 6"x4"x4" size boxes, except for right now, because I accidentally ordered 4"x4"x6" boxes, which are a bit of a pain, as well as an important lesson on double-checking the dimensions before I hit "add to cart."
When I first started selling on eBay, all of my shipping materials (except tape) were recycled materials, including boxes. Eventually, though, I realized that I couldn't get enough small boxes, and I kept having to ship things in boxes that were too large. This got costly and also used extra packing material, so eventually I found Uline and started buying small boxes.
These boxes have peanuts in the bottom of them, but I usually use grocery bags. I have friends and family who collect them for me. I also save the tissue paper from gift bags and the packing paper from new shoes and just about anything else I can pad the bottom of a box with.
When I mail beads, I put them in 3"x4" bags like this:
And then I wrap the bag in a strip of bubble wrap, which I get from a local store.
NONE SHALL PASS!
Ahem. This is the secret to my shipping success; being able to encase items in this hardcore bubble wrap is the best thing ever. This is why I don't use boxes smaller than 4x4x6. There's not enough room for the bubble wrap. It does lead to a situation or two where it probably seems like overkill, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
After I put the bubble cocoons into the boxes, I fold up the invoice and a business card and use it to pad the top, and then I seal it with more packing tape and it's ready.
This is getting a little long, so I'll continue it in part two, tomorrow.