Recycling your shipping items is worth it

Now that I am a little older I find myself doing some things differently. I care about what I leave behind for my family.  Living in 2021 I know that eCommerce is king and that most of us get a ton of boxes in the mail every week. This has led to an entire change in lifestyles and how people get and receive goods.  The fact of the matter is that eCommerce and having items shipped directly to your home is the way things are happening for a near majority of all shopping due to the pandemic and regulations restricting shopping in person.  This has led to millions of boxes being produced shipped and finding their way to people’s homes and soon their trash.  If you are getting twenty boxes a week in the mail and not recycling then it really seems harmful to the world.  I know for me I am working on recycling the right way and also trying to cut back on the total waste used by my family.    

Depending on where you live I understand recycling can be pretty annoying.  It certainly is for me!  I only have one trashcan a week to use for recycling and it is not big and my boxes will not all just be able to be tossed in.  Instead of having a great system, my garage was filled up with boxes for months until I figured out a reasonable way to recycle properly.  I was not able to just drive and drop them off at a recycling factory like I used to.  So many things became illegal and nonessential overnight that it was hard to see that become one of them.  This meant I needed to find an easy way to get all the stuff in my bin in order to do the right thing.

Geometry seemed to be the answer to this.  I found out that I would simply have to cut the stuff into the best shape to fit the can. This sounds super simple and really easy, but in fact, it was really not.  I ended up getting blisters to start and tons of paper cuts.  This was because first I just tossed the boxes in and saw they didn’t really fit. I tried to crush them down but then the trash people would not shake the can or help get the boxes out.  This left a lot to be desired because it didn’t fill the can to its actual capacity.  It was wasting space.

Scissors seemed to be a good answer to my problem so I gave that a try.  I had to get scissors because my hands got these huge cardboard paper cuts and it was simply not worth it.  I then tried to scissor the boxes into the right shape and for a bit, it worked great.  Then after a few boxes, my hands got red hot spots, and blisters started to form.  This was not fun, not sustainable and I had to find a better way.  What actually worked was going old school.  I pulled out a knife and went to town.

My old fishing knife was working really well and it was a nice expensive knife.  It has great steel on it.  Cardboard is actually really hard on knife steel and dulls it quickly so you may need a good sharpener to go along with your knife.  No blisters and clean recycling made me happy.

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Don’t pack up like I did.

Yet again in 2021, another housing boom is happening.  I think this is really cool because my home is now worth a whole lot more.  I may even sell soon! I keep getting calls from realtors looking to sell my home.  I think that either way a few tips never hurt anyone when heavy lifting is involved.  This year I myself learned a few valuable lessons from mistakes and broken items during moves and I thought that it would be fun to go over a few to maybe help someone else out as well.  Did you know that one of the biggest mistakes of all moving is actually what you load the packages into?  Yes, the car matters, or truck or trailer. 

It has taken me some time to figure this out but I hate trucks for moving now.  Most trucks sit high up off of the ground and are limited in the size of the truck bed.  What normally happened was we would use the trucks to move heavy items and the fact was that since they set so high that people would end up getting hurt by lifting them up.  I also found out that the truck would get damaged by scratches or dents and usually the item would as well.  The fact is that most items we put into trucks were awful to deal with and I would not suggest making this your go-to vehicle if you have a choice.  Now if the truck has a hitch, then you are ready for the best option I think.

There is nothing that really works better than a short-walled trailer in nice weather.   I found that these normally have a small fence on each side them and a ramp to walk up and into the trailer.  This made the ease of use for moving heavy items ten times better than using a truck.  Instead of carrying an item, we could wheel it on the trailer with a cart or by the wheels on the item itself.  It made no injuries occur due to lifting and it helped cut back on almost all the damage done to the item itself and the trailer.  There is one major downside to this though and that is that it had no ceiling.  So that meant it was open to the weather making it nice weather moving vehicle only.  

The weather is the only possible issue to me, but if you are able to choose the day of moving and have some leeway with the weather, then it is an amazing way to go. I found it super each to get all of those cheap moving boxes up and on it and it made it so much nicer when we got to the location and had to also move those cheap moving boxes back into the new home.  

Easy is the answer in many situations and this is one of them.  When it comes to moving wisely then this is the best option and having the best way to move a package is key.  So I would also suggest buying high-quality packages and not using flimsy ones to pack up all your stuff into.  My hope is that my experience doing all of these movings will help you out with yours.  So happy moving!

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Protect your boxes

It is fun to see eCommerce take off so much in 2021.  The reason is pretty simple when you think about it. This is all because of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are having to make drastic changes to the way they work.  From shipping departments doubling in size overnight to floor sales staff being let go.  The changes are really happing on the back end of many companies and what is happening is that shipping departments have become the most important parts of companies.  To stay competitive you must find the best products for the best prices.

If you want to go broke that is pretty simple.  Stay behind the times and let your competition crush you by being smarter. This year most brick and mortar companies are changing into more e-commerce based businesses.  The transition is truly complicated but one simple way they are losing to the competition is through lack of proper quartermaster purchasing.  When you are overspending on packaging supplies the whole show starts to collapse.  If you end up buying boxes at twice the price of your competitor then it is hard to lose several percent on every single sale.  Now add in all your other shipping supplies and you will probably cry.

Don’t get caught with your pants down.  Simply learn to find the best prices and negotiate.  This means finding a great packaging supplies company and get better deals.  If you can go direct and buy in bulk, I have found that you can at least stay competitive and maybe get a competitive advantage over a rival.  That is the easiest, simplest, and yet most overlooked area.  It is because the shipping department seems small and there are bigger fish to fry, but if you do not look out this area will have a huge impact on your bottom line.

You may end up getting new people or changing how your whole company works. In order to make your shipping department thrive, you may have to change who is working for you or hire new people while letting old ones go.  I find it better to retrain if you can.  The sales department workers on the flood who are now no longer needed can be great shipping department workers.  I know it is a job shift, but they know your products and can help get it out to new people.  They can also help with the customer service side of your company that may have not existed the week before.  The new transition will mean lots of more calls coming in about fixing issues. If you need to change sales to customer service then do it.

You may need more space in different ways with this new eCommerce-focused business. This may be because you are shifting to an e-commerce company.  The shift I have been seeing is for companies to start eliminating the sales floor or brick and mortar sales sections and put them to use for storage and shipping.  This can be done with a simple shelving system and a good labeling system that you already have in place.  If you don’t have one I suggest using the ABCs and numbers to order your new warehouse.  I also like the use of cardboard boxes on shelves to hold products instead of expensive alternatives. Learn what you can when you can and stay ahead of the competition!

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Cheap Moving Boxes 1

It’s moving day! Well, technically it’s the first day of packing for moving day. After COVID hit, my job went from on-location to working remotely. And after the bosses realized that it was more cost efficient to keep things this way, I now work remote full-time. Can’t say that I mind it too much. I get to be in my sweats from the waist down. I can put a show or podcast on in the background so I’m not completely losing my mind, and I don’t have to run out at lunch anymore to let my puppy out. All-in-all it’s been a pretty good fit. The only drawback was my roommate. They also went working remote, and after being stuck together 24-7 day in and day out for the last year, we realized that we aren’t really all that compatible living companions after all. So, I decided to get a new place. Which is great! But now that means I have to move all my junk…and apparently some of my roommate’s they claim isn’t theirs. (Facepalm)

Moving isn’t so bad. As long as you have a plan and are ready to go the day the actual movers get there. However, most people when they move don’t realize there are a few tips and tricks that can actually help make the whole process go a lot more smoothly. That’s where I come in! (Metaphorically speaking…how awkward would that be if I just randomly showed up to your place?) I’m going to give you a few tips on how to make your life much easier when packing up your stuff to move to your new home.  

Tip number one. Make sure you have enough packing supplies. Seriously. Nothing is worse than needing a box to put stuff in, only to find you ran out. And there are tons of places, both physical locations and online, that you can purchase fairly cheap moving boxes and other supplies. Try not to break your budget though. You don’t need anything fancy. Just some sturdy boxes where you can place your belongings. And I would buy more than you think you’ll need. For one, because you always end up needing them. And two, because what you don’t use, you normally can return. Just check on that before you buy. 

Tip number two. Label, label, label. Label the darn boxes. It may seem like a pain when you’re packing up. But it’s going to save you a lot of hair-pulling on the other side. Trust me. Also, color-coding your boxes to coordinate which room they go in is also super helpful. Just go and get those colorful sticky dots and stick away!

 Tip number three. Do your research. Especially when you’re using a moving company. Make sure they have good reviews and are trustworthy. The last thing you need is two sketchy dudes pulling up in a white van to take your stuff (and probably you) who knows where. Also, call the day before they are supposed to arrive and make sure you’re still on the schedule. Otherwise, you may wind up waiting all day for people who are never showing up. 

Tip number four. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, everyone hates that dreaded “can you help me move” call. But, hey, more than likely they’ll be calling you someday with the same question. So, cash in while you can. 

Moving doesn’t have to suck. Just be prepared, have a loadton of cheap moving boxes, know who you’re working with, and for goodness sakes make sure your new roommate actually knows how to use a vacuum. 

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Don’t let your backend ruin your business

Most companies made huge changes last year and now in 2021, we decided to pivot along with them to be more successful.  It is simply the thing you have to do when the entire economy collapses. We saw rules change and some places went full communision.  Yes, it sounds a lot like communism just happened and well it did. But this is more about how our company survived the freedom-sucking economy collapsing event.  We decided to use our own ingenuity and purchased a bunch of packaging supplies and took all of our own marketing in-house.  We decided to instead of pay thousands of dollars for a marketing company to do work that we know cost about half that we would instead do it in-house.  This is the cost of bad governance. 

We decided that knowing our needs was key and we went to the old calculator. We had to track all the purchases and sales that were made from previous marketing and find out what was actually making us the most money because we have to be fragile and fast in this market.  Our goal was to hunt marketing out like a panther and that is what we did.  We researched hard on what was landing us our money and pounced on it.  Packaging supplies was going to be the key to our success.

For us direct mail was kind and we needed to do it in the house to save more money.  There was no point in spending money on anything but this and well emails.  It is easy to follow up on the direct mailers with emails in order to give the 1 two punch to make our marketing work.  So with this in mind, we had to find a way to make our company capable of doing direct mailers.  Most of us are technologically well rounded but we needed some help to learn the basics of direct mail.

Getting the correct fell and look was key and that was a bit hard for us. We wanted to make sure these looked professional because even if we did them cheap if they look cheap they won’t work.  Perception really is a reality so we decided to step up our game.  We used color copies for our letters and had the look of it to be very professional and branded.  Then we had to go ahead and buy a bunch of good-looking letters.  Buying letters, paper, and inc for this project was really not the easy thing we thought it would be. 

But each item we used we kept a good number on and it helped in the long run. Then we put on a special sauce wax seal to finish off the letters.  By the time we finished, we found out that the cost of each one was about 1 dollar when done in mass production.  We had to call up big companies and order all of our items in bulk in order to cut down on costs.  Going to Amazon was not going to work for costs if we are going to make money doing this.  Teamwork was what helped us suceed.

Our whole company split up into teams and really got down to work. All our board members and upper staff pitched in just the same. 

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Get the best boxes and vehicles for your move

I decided that it was important to help out people especially when times get stressful.  I know when you are looking to move to a new home that can be a very stressful time because so many things are happening all at once.  There is so much planning and if someone can give you plans to do half of it for you on moving day then that could be wonderful.  My family has done a lot of moving over the years and we have also helped many friends and family members move over the years too.  With the housing boom going on with interest rates super low and the housing market selling like crazy I want to give some advice on moving.  Moving is a big deal and moving days can really have an impact on how you feel about your new home as well.  I have been surprised at how having a good moving setup or moving crew can change an entire experience.  How you move can really have an impact on your new home and simply can change a bad day into a good one. 

I think that you really need to use wise materials and vehicles. It is so typical for people to instantly call everyone they know who has a truck in hopes that they can guilt or convince them to help you out.  This really is what most Americans do and it is the basic task for new homeowners.  They think that they must do this and that having a truck is the only answer for moving.  I am here to tell you that trucks make really bad moving vehicles.  I don’t like lifting furniture up that high to get it in the bed.  I also don’t like tossing cheap moving boxes over the side of the bed when these trucks can be up to five feet high on the bed walls.  I have seen so much damage happen to people, items, and yes trucks while moving.  Lots of people end up causing more damage all around getting things into trucks than any other vehicle.  The height of the truck makes is so much more of a physical game and that is no good.

I highly suggest renting a good vehicle that is meant to move.  Rather that is a big Uhaul truck or trailer that is a good idea.  Now If these trucks have a long ramp then I would say they are pretty good.  But some do not and you have to lift all the items up again just like a pickup truck.  Yet again this is only slightly better than a pickup truck because it is at least covered from the elements. This helps you not get your cheap moving boxes wet and all the things ruined inside of them.  These are two things you can do, but my favorite is yet to come.

To me, there is nothing better than a walk-in trailer. This is simply because it is low and people can use a cart or a hand cart to wheel furniture and packages in.  The ability to wheel items in, has saved many injuries and many broken or damaged items from occurring.  I have seen people have great moving experiences with a low walled trailer.  You can use most vehicles to pull it and have a great time. 

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Get the products you need for your work office cheaply.

When your company moves and right before a year-long lockdown you learn a lot of things. Priorities seem to have a different ring when the world goes a bit nuts. Now, the storage room where we keep all of our supplies from tape to boxes was put into my control.  Originally, I believed this was simply a waste of my time and not going to be anything but a burden on me.  Instead of simply brushing this task off, I decided to take it as a challenge to make this small burden a positive for my career.  There is one policy that we do follow in our company and that is if you can save the company money then you will end up with half of what you saved.  That is really the motivation that led me to take this task to heart.  I wanted to show not only that I was a capable employee who cared about the company but when it comes to packaging supplies it was a truly important part of who we are because it represents our quality.

We had tons of different things in this room.  This means that it does get used a good amount and especially since Covid-19 we have been doing a lot more marketing internally. We have to survive and that means cutting costs. That means we use, boxes, tape, and shipping items constantly.  I had a whole list of all the costs for the last several months and that was part of the reason I was put in charge of this area was the extra charges being placed on it. The cost of these orders was starting to become two and three thousand dollars a month.  This certainly adds up after a year and it was my goal to save as much as a could.  In my honest opinion if I could save us 10% or even 20% that would be incredible. 

I did what all good bean counters do and cataloged of all the packaging supplies we used every single day for each project.  Then I went to the people doing our marketing and took down each and every item they used per project.  I had them work on solving their marketing projects in different ways and I did it with them.  I wanted to find the most efficient way to tape a box and to send a letter.  It came down to man movements and also how much of a product they were using.  

This meant I had to move onto a new place.  Most of our shopping had been done in big box stores or Amazon for convenience.  I noticed that Amazon had better prices but they didn’t offer discounts for large quantity orders.  This meant that I knew there would be specific stores that cut out the middlemen who would do discounts.  This led me to look at packaging supplies stores themselves. Then I started calling and asking questions about my position and what they thought I could do to lower costs. I started to learn more things about my new position and found out I could bid them against each other. It was a good move to cut costs and that is why we did it. I also got a nice bonus from saving so much money. 

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Using packaging wisely and moving on the cheap

We all know that the housing market fluctuates.  Interest rates and different liquidity issues make huge changes.  Our state generally does not change much but with the government slashing interest rates due to quantitative easing we have a housing boom.  It has been the best housing market and interest rates that the country has ever seen.  So even though the world seems to be going crazy the housing market is booming.  I have seen more people move than I have ever seen at any other time in my life.  This ended up getting my wife and me into looking at moving ourselves.  So we looked at what mortgage loan we could get and what rate we could get.  It turns out that we could afford a much larger house for the same price we are paying for our current home.  We looked around and neighbors who moved had sold their homes for so much more than they paid for it.  We decided to move up in the world.  So I ended up calling around and looking for some cheap moving boxes. That is when you know it is serious.

It took 3 days to find a home and make an offer that was accepted.  We worked a deal that our home had to sell first and then we would end up moving in a few months after some work was done.  It was the fastest house swapping deal I had ever been apart of.  It was only three days and all was done.  We had to work no getting friends to help fast. We ended up in an amazing neighborhood and at a super low cost. 

It took some time to get the family to clear their schedule but we found help. We ended up getting some help and then I decided to not use my old method of moving. Usually, I just go to a  big box store and asks for some cheap moving boxes but this time I decided to do it right.  Instead of getting old flimsy boxes I went to a packaging supplies store online and ordered a moving package.  This was not expensive and all said and done but I got thick boxes, tape, markers, and labels for about fifty bucks.  I was able to get all of our possession safely moved without damage. That is a costly thing if you don’t do it right.

It was a good plan and idea. Closet boxes were so cool that even my wife was happy I spent the money.  Our closet clothes were safe and not folded.  Instead of hanging in a really cool box that we could carry and not worry about dresses or suits getting damaged. It was something that I wished I had done before.  Never before did I know that such advanced boxes existed.  I decided to tell everyone who helped me move and they all thought I was crazy till they saw it.  They said it was the easiest move they had ever had.  We ordered a trailer to rent and did the whole thing in two trips.  No one pulled muscles and no one broke anything because the moving packages did not flex or have any issues.  It was a great purchase and I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

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Use your boxes wisely for your shipping department

This year the eCommerce side of business went booming.  It grew more in 6 months than it did in 10 years.  That is because for much of the country that is the only way to shop.  Insane right.  But I am guessing most of our politicians invested heavily in eCommerce before they made it mandatory.  Truly, It is a strange world we are living in and the economy keeps on changing.  Our country has made many fundamental shifts in how it does business as of 2021.  This is all because of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are having to make drastic changes to the way they work and most are now working from home.  That has been another huge budget cut.   From shipping departments doubling in size overnight to floor sales staff being let go.  The changes are really happing on the back end of many companies and what is happening is that shipping departments have become the most important parts of companies.  This is happening in many different ways and this year they must stay competitive in order to survive. This means knowing your boxes and how to save money on them.

Losing your edge will get your company destroyed overnight. I am pretty sure the easiest way for a company to go out of business is to not be competitive.  This year most brick and mortar companies are changing into more e-commerce based businesses.  The transition is truly complicated but one simple way they are losing to the competition is through lack of proper quartermaster purchasing.  When you are overspending on packaging supplies the whole show starts to collapse.  If you end up buying boxes at twice the price of your competitor then it is hard to lose several percent on every single sale.  What happens if your tape and labels are also being sold at higher prices? We know that you end up slowly fading into the failure of your own work.

What you need to do is be wise and find the best deals.  This means finding a great packaging supplies company and get better deals.  If you can go direct and buy in bulk, I have found that you can at least stay competitive and maybe get a competitive advantage over a rival.  That is the easiest, simplest, and yet most overlooked area.  It is because the shipping department seems small and there are bigger fish to fry, but if you do not look out this area will sink your e-commerce company. 

The next area that can be difficult is staff changes.  In order to make your shipping department thrive, you may have to change who is working for you or hire new people while letting old ones go.  I find it better to retrain if you can.  The sales department workers on the flood who are now no longer needed can be great shipping department workers.  I know it is a job shift, but they know your products and can help get it out to new people.  They can also help with the customer service side of your company that may have not existed the week before.  The new transition will mean lots of more calls coming in about fixing issues. So be prepared and make sure to make the right call. Now go out and win.

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Don’t Hurt Your Back Moving

I am really over the idea of being injured.  This year I have seen and gone through to much pain to have a simple move hurt me for months.  There really is no point in not spending a little bit of money in order to be safe and happy.  No surprise that this time of year is usually filled with people thinking about housing.  The weather is nice and moving is in the air.  But in 2021 everyone stopped thinking about it and decided to move.  The interest rates dropped to the lowest of all time and even my wife and I decided to move.  What we didn’t expect is that all of our friends and family would do the same and we found that we were asked to help move a whole lot.  It was incredible the amount of moving we did and we learned a whole lot of lessons.  Since we learned a lot and it is of no gain to us not to share the information, here are a few tips on how to move safely. So keep an eye out on how to be safe and happy this year.

Don’t fall into the old trap and listening to old wives’ tales about how to move.  Get into the new age and move efficiently and happily.  The first thing we noticed was that everyone was always doing the same thing.  We all started our plans for moving to the same place.  We were all looking for free labor and free equipment to use.  I don’t know why but no one wants to spend any money on moving if they don’t have to.  This comes right down to the cheap moving boxes we all try to find and use too.  It really is incredible.  Some of my family went to local big box stores to try and find free cheap moving boxes.  We ended up moving a few families that used packages that had been used many times over.  And what we found was that those were not safe.  

We saw many times that the used boxes would flex and shift due to how old they were.  It was something that happened to me too.  I pulled a muscle in my back because my box flexed and it shifted my weight forward.  It made me injure myself.  I also saw a friend fall down a few stairs due to the same exact thing.  This was a lesson to me and to the rest of my family that using that kind of package was not smart.  We needed to be safe and spend a few bucks in order to get the right tool for the right job. 

Don’t use crap boxes.  What I found was that there are packaging supplies companies that sell whole moving packages.  They come with cardboard boxes rated for moving.  They even have tape and markers included.  This was a big game changer and it allowed the future moves to be much safer.  Not only were they safer but some of the boxes were created for specific needs.  There were hanger boxes for closets.  This was a game-changer to me and that is because we could move our nice things with no damage. That was incredible and I highly suggest you use those items. 

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