Don’t Waste Your Boxes

If you are living in this century and the year is 2020 or greater then you are probably living in a box world.  If you don’t know what I mean then you may have not lived through the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.  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 home and soon their trash.  I implore you to change the way you are getting rid of those 5, 10, 50 boxes a week and not to just throw them into the trash.  I want you to recycle them properly so they don’t go to waste and the cost of shipping does not go up for all.

This is not the easiest thing to do and I know because in my neighborhood and with my city recycling is hard.  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.  So I had to find a way to get all of these packaging supplies into my recycling bin safely and easily. 

What I found is that the only way to get all of the packaging supplies into the single trashcan was to cut them up and put them in by perfect shape.  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.  Now I was stuck with a half-full recycling can after the trashmen had come.  This was disappointing and I had to find a better way.

So I then went to get some scissors after I tried tearing the boxes.  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.  Finally, I found a big fishing knife and it worked really well.

This knife was a fixed blade knife that had a good 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.  But this was easy to use and didn’t cause my hand to get blisters.  I cut the boxes safely into small pieces and put them in the can allowing it to be filled to capacity.

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Are you prepared to move wisely?

It has been a huge trend to pick up and move to a new location this year.  Interest rates are super low and homes are selling like hotcakes.  This means that most likely you are going to be asked to help move or maybe even planning on moving to a new location yourself.  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.  So I think I will begin with one of the biggest tips that I found out and that is what type of vehicle you should actually be loading your home items into. 

After doing several moves I found that having a truck was not really a great vehicle to use to get things from one location to another.  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.  But if you are able to have a truck with a hitch then you are moving to my favorite option.

I love open-walled trailers.  I found that these normally have 3-foot walls on them and a ramp to walk up and into the trailer.  This made the ease of use for moving heavy items 50-90% 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 a nice weather moving vehicle only.  That is a sad downside, 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. 

Sometimes having the easy way to do something is worth it.  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.  This can help cut down on accidents and allow your move to be so much more fun!

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Are you getting packaging for a good cost?

This year eCommerce companies are thriving.  I am in the marketing industry and have seen so many new companies come into existence is insane.  I have also seen a lot of companies not make the cut and end up burning through all their startup funds quickly.  There are a lot of reasons for companies succeeding and failing, but there are some sound things that every company should follow and that is to buy their supplies at the best cost.  Ecommerce is about success and if you are selling online then you already know that you have to ship those items to the customer.  One way or another this is going to be a cost and you want to make sure it is not going to be a cost that will shut down your company.  So learning to shop the best locations and getting the right products can be the difference between a competitive advantage and bankruptcy.  So let’s go over a few things you may have not thought about before.

The thing we see the most is that people are generally more prone to going towards convenience instead of the best option.  This means different things for many people too.  For some companies, I have seen them buy all of their shipping supplies locally and then brag about this as a selling point.  What we found is taht they supported local companies and that is something that we all liked.  But the downfall is that they only had a small sampling of options available to them.  They had to use the packages, tape, and cardboard boxes available to them within a 20-mile radius.  What this turned out to be for the companies that did this was a plane looking shipping platform for a very high cost.  I did see some custom work is done which looked amazing, but that ended up being 20% of the cost of the product that they were shipping.  That means a 20% upcharge had to be given to the client for the looks of the packaging or a 20% margin loss on the seller’s end.  Either way, their competition was not dealing with that cost and ended up putting them out of business.

The most common thing we saw were companies purchasing all of their goods on Amazon.  Now if you are simply getting office supplies I would say this is an acceptable option.  But people were buying thousands of cardboard boxes, rolls of tape, and bags on a platform that boasts good shipping.  Well, they got their supplies within two days, but they did not get bulk discounts or any advice at all on the products they ordered.  This was a major issue because the fact is these companies were generally not competitive on the shipping section and ended up losing out to the competition that was always cheaper or able to offer free shipping and low prices.  This hurt the minds of many CEO’s but the fact is that they could not compete doing this because they were purchasing from the wrong locations.

Woman packs parcel in post office

There are large companies online that are packaging supplies stores that specialize in this area.  Not only do they give advice on the products you are purchasing when you call in but can help with bulk discounts on the whole order.  They always beat amazon and end up giving companies advice that lowers costs even further. So don’t lose out, thrive this year.

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Get the Tape you Need for the Task

I have always been amazed at all of the things that are needed when you own a home.  This year my family moved from an apartment to a home and the fact is that we have used more items than I ever thought possible to renovate and get this home to a nice livable condition.  The fun times we have had working on flooring, painting, and plumbing has led us to learn many new skills and use many products that we didn’t think we would.  The truth is that we have ended up buying crazy amounts of tape over the past few months and I wish I would have known what we needed ahead of time.  If so I would have simply gone to a packaging supplies store and bought a bulk amount so I could get a discount on it all. But I want to go over some of the things we learned while using all these types of tape.

One thing we learned pretty fast is that painters tape is not all created equal.  The truth is that there are many different types of brands and many different prices involved in painters tape.  What we discovered is that the lower end dollar store painters tape is not the correct answer to your task for most situations.  We loved the dollar price tag for the dollar store painters tape but found out that it did not stop paint at all.  It was actually basically a sticky net where the paint would always penetrate.  It was also very hard to tear and place on objects and tight spaces.  This left us taking hours of our time to put the tape in place and then find out that it did nothing to help us.  Using the expensive 3m painters tape was twice as fast and actually blocked paint and liquid.  This was by far the best thing to buy and I would suggest it.  Unless you are only tagging items and writing what they are on the tape then I would opt to spend more and get the 3m brand. 

The next thing we learned was that Duct tape is a must.  This type of tape is the answer to many temporary problems.  What we found was that it was more valuable to temporarily fix something than taking the time to go out and purchase the correct fix.  For some situations, we only need something to be stuck together for a short period of time.  Like a pole and paint roller or brush.  We had an extendable pole break and we only needed to use it one last time before we were finished with a project.  But it broke on the part that attached to the painting brush and roller.  So we taped it back together.  It would have cost 20 bucks and take about an hour to get and get a new one. 

A temporary fix was to Duct tape the roller on and it absolutely worked.  It was not a perfect long-term answer, but it was the perfect fix for the time we had.  It was the end of the day and the project would have been expanded to a much longer time frame.  So take these tips and buy a bunch of these at your packaging supplies store. It really is the best thing to do.

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Don’t move with the wrong boxes again

This year has been a whirlwind of craziness.  I never imagined that a pandemic would end up bringing the biggest housing boom in the history of the country.  People are moving constantly and are doing so because the interest rates are so good and people are all looking to move into a new or bigger home.  This has left me doing something that I normally don’t like to do and that is moving homes.  Not only has my home had to move but I have been asked to help many friends and family do the same.  It has been a big group effort this year and I am happy that my circle of friends and family have all helped each other. But we learned that something as simple as a bunch of cheap moving boxes can change the entire aspect of moving.  This is because of multiple reasons that we will go over.

The first time I noticed that using the right corrugated box was important was when the first set of failures happened.  This was all because of where we source our storage containers.  As per the normal, most people get their moving containers from a local big box store second hand.  We have all asked to use some old boxes before and this was what we did.  We shopped around and instead of spending any money at all, we got all of these old second-hand packages that had been used many times over.

We decided to pack up our entire home with second-hand packages and it took a lot of extra tapes to make sure they would hold all of our goods. Even though there were times that I was actually worried about getting those boxes filled and everything being safe I simply let it all ride.  I kept packing up things even when I thought the box may not hold.  This may have not been the best thing to do and now I know that it wasn’t.  I should have listened to myself and simply gone out an picked up some new heavy-duty packages to storing my stuff in.

It turns out that when we went to move our cheap moving boxes cost us a lot of money in damaged goods and damaged bodies.  My back simply hurt because the flimsy box ended up shifting weight on me and my body lunged after it.  Instead of just letting the box go, I grabbed at the shifting box and pulled a muscle.  Not only did this happen to me but it happened again to another family member who simply dropped the box.  Honestly, that is probably the smartest move and I am glad they did instead of getting injured.  But we lost a few hundred dollars worth of goods and I had to go to the doctor.

What we should have done was simply buy some nice boxes to pack everything up in.  I found a store that sold a whole setup online for 25 bucks and it came with tape and markers too.  It would have been a big money saver and that is what we decided to do on every single move after that. I have to say I am glad we figured it out.  So I hope this little tip helps you.

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Using Candy for a Party.

This year was a special one for my family.  It was the 65th birthday of my mother in law.  This was a big deal to her because it was a feeling of accomplishment and wisdom in her mind.  So she let us know that this day was going to be special and that she wanted the whole family there for a day.  She planned out the entire day hour by hour and wanted to spend it sharing all parts of her life with us.  Now in reality it was a bit boring, but it was also very special.  Taking the time to learn from someone who has many more years of living is important and a wise move.  So we also wanted to make a few plans of our own to surprise her and make it a special day and with her love of special candy boxes, we wanted to incorporate them into the party.

This was an exciting time that all of her kids and my wife loved being able to plan for.  Our goal was to add a surprise into her special day and with that we wanted to throw a party at the end.  We planned for weeks finding all of her favorite foods and colors.  We implemented really cool birthday gifts that were all themed.  The main theme was to take her favorite candy boxes of almond joys and make the theme flamingo.  This was a rather crazy task because ti meant everything had to be pink and yet coconut themed.  And that is what we decided to do.

During the special day, she had planned out she ha breaks set aside.  We took those breaks and instantly made the basement a super special place for a surprise.  The first goal was to fill it with balloons.  So on the first break, we went down and locked the doors.  We then proceeded to blow up several hundred balloons.  This was breathtaking as you might imagine, but they were all pink and we created some cool scenery with them.

We first grabbed a sheet and tape it to the ceiling. This made a bed on the ceiling with a pull string.  The idea was when she went down the stairs we would pull the string and the sheet which was taped to the ceiling and filled with balloons would fall.  We put about 50 ballons in the sheet and packing taped it to the ceiling.  We also used scissors to cut the string to the right length in order to have a good pull.  This took some time and many strips of tape to get it to stay in the correct position.  Then we taped up a pinata to a basement ceiling beam.

We filled the pinata with her favorite treat of almond joys and provided a nice bat.  It was a flamingo pinata and she loved it.  Then we taped ballons across the ceiling and had all her gifts surrounded by a giant set of 65-year-old balloons.  It was a pretty awesome setup and by the time the 4th break happened we finished it up.  We had her walk down after dinner and surprised her with a fun celebration at the end of a wisdom-filled day. I highly suggest giving this a shot for your family as it was really fun.

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Getting your warehouse in order

The changing economic platform that continues to hit the United States can be hard to keep up with.  It has to be said that if your not working hard to keep your company strong during the COVID-19 pandemic then you may get left behind.  This goes doubly for companies that are focusing on eCommerce.  It has been seen that one area that your company needs to thrive in is its warehouse.  In order to rock the best eCommerce service having a warehouse that is fireing on all cylinders is really importanat. I must say that there is no way you can keep up with the competition unless your warehouse is rocking. So lets go over a few areas to make sure your warehosue is operatign in tip top shape in order to stay ahead of the competition.

One simple area to look into is the supply side of the warehouse.  This can be a huge budget area and if you are doing well in this area you can cut down on lots of costs.  Now depending on your company you may be shipping tons of boxes out.  If this is so then you need to be checking all of your shipping supplies and focusing on cutting the costs of those areas.  I have to say that finding the best price on boxes or tape can be a life changing experience for a warehouse.  If you are sending out 50 boxes a day or 5000 then you can really change yoru budget by negotiating with the right company to get your boxes at the best price.

I have found that even ordering all your products together at the same time can give up to 25% discounts on thousands of dollars of merchandice a month.  That adds up quick and can allow you to spend more in other areas or simply operate more lean in the future.  So checking up on your shipping supplies is huge.

Another area that you can look into is literally how yhour employees are working.  If you don’t have a system for everything that they are doing then you are most likely losing money and time on how they are working.  I like to put multiple teams or people to the same task and ask them to solve the same daily tasks and see what they do.  I may tell one to try to do it fasater or how ever they want to do it.  It helps to see professionals do what they want how they want to do it.  Most teams won’t find anything new, but some will create a faster more fficient warehouse and end up saving you tons of money.

The final thing that I like to say is to get to know your shipping providers and drivers.  If your warehouse is going to be kept alive by products coming in and out it is important to know your drivers and for them to maybe even like you. I have found serviced increases and damaged goods go way down when you like your delivery drivers.  Mutual respec in timing and attention go a long way even if you wont be friends.  It is really an importanat part of doing busines and Christmas cards never hurt either.  So I hope these tips help you with your warehouse work in the future.

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Shopping for Boxes Correctly

The thought of shopping for things like boxes was not on my mind when I took my current position at my job.  The reality is that our company has made a whole lot of changes and our entire marketing section just was told to do everything in the house.  That means that we are working projects that we never have and are learning just like major marketing companies how to purchase items from the best location in order to keep costs low and our business sales high. 

The thing we ended up doing was learning how to purchase items for corporate gifting first.  We knew we needed our products to be of high quality and they had to look fancy.  This is a complicated task when it comes to making regular cardboard look good.  I think that our process for finding those products was good and want to share it with you to save you time in the future.

The first thing we had to do was find out what type of products we needed.  We looked at what we had purchased last quarter from marketing companies and had sent out.  It was our first goal to deconstruct those items and then find out what we would need to look for when shopping.  So we learned that we needed a specific type of box, filling, and tape.  Those were the three main items to send these gifts which we would order separately depending on the company we were gifting to.  Now that we knew what we needed the plan was to find the best price, shipping, and availability.  That was a certainly complicated task but worth the time invested due to the cost savings we could get each quarter.  The goal was to save money so we knew we needed to get all of these shipping supplies cheap and fast.

The first thing we did was what we all do and check Amazon.  The idea was to find something that we could ship within two days and get in high quantity for a good price.  This was indeed what we found, but the shipping for large quantities actually was about a week because it was not on prime for most of the products we needed.  The other thing was that the custom great looking boxes were really not available.  This was a viable option and I kept all of the prices in the cart because I like to be precise.  I then decided I wanted to see what would happen if I went local and found a place that we could get any products we wanted by simply driving 10 minutes to.  This meant a local big box shipping supplies store was on the list.

We went right along to our local store and started looking around.  The convenience was great because if we had an issue we could get any box, tape, or filing right away by driving down the road.  But the options were varied limited in-store and the idea of custom was none existent.  The prices were also much higher than Amazon and that was a sad thing.  The convenience was great but probably not worth the lack of choice and the fact that the stock was not in great quantity. So the obvious choice was to buy online.  That is simply what we did and we saved a bunch.

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Household Supplies and tape to have on hand

This year my wife and I made a big change in our lives.  We decided to finally buy a house and it was a wild adventure.  Normally, we have enjoyed not having to do work on the location that we lived and it allowed us free time to have more fun.  But it is nice spending money on an investment and not free time.  Now we have moved into our new home and found that there are so many things needed to keep the house looking good.  There is always a new tape or some kind of packaging supplies item that we end up using. It really is wild to think of tall the small things that we didn’t need before but now that we keep fixing things in the home we need them. 

I have ended up simply opening up an account with a packaging supplies store because we go through so many products. I found that the cost of simply opening an account and order in bulk was better than making so many trips to home depot and spending more in the short run.  So this was a good decision for us and has been rather useful.  There are so many uses for these small things and even tape has been a big help. 

Duct tape and packing tape are used constantly.  Let us not forget painters tape even though it is terrible for painting.  The paint soaks right through it but we found that since it does not leave residue on items and comes off quickly it is amazing for marking things.  Just the other day we used it to measure and hang multiple pictures and shelves.  This is a really cool trick we learned on youtube.  First, you take a strip of tape and then put it on the back of your picture or shelf that you want to hang. Make sure the strip goes to all the sections that are actually going to be hung with a nail or hanging device.  Once you are done with that take a pen in either poke a hoke or use the ink to mark the spots.  Now because you have a market on the tape strip where the nails need to be you can simply then take that strip and move it on to the wall where you want the picture to hang.  From there I suggest getting a level and then making sure the tape is level and centered where you want it to be.  Then you simply place the painter’s tape on the wall.  Then you hammer in your nails or hang your device with screws or those plastic weighted screws and you are done.  Simply pull off the tape and then put your picture on the wall.  It is an amazing fix that saves time and energy. 

Now it is also important to have lots of duct tape on hand as well. I have used it to hold together parts of the home, pipes and paintbrushes. It is a wonderful tool that holds strong for a temporary fix.  That temporary fix can save thousands of dollars and I suggest doing it.  I buy this item in bulk because it is also fun for Christmas presents as well. That may be a family thing though.  Either way, I hope you are a little more set for your house from our lessons learned!

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Cardboard Can Change Your Life

This year was a rather stressful one.  The COVID-19 Pandemic took place and forced many people to stay at home or work from home too.  This was a big change for my family because we just moved into a fixer-upper house.  This was originally a great idea.  We found the lowest priced home in a super nice neighborhood.  We decided that we wanted to work on fixing it up while we lived in it in order to move to the best place in the state.  This was a very good idea to begin with and in reality, financially it still is.  But it caused a whole lot of work for us and because we were constantly working on the home we were short on space.  This is when the panic ordering from online stores ended up helping us a lot.  We ended up with so many Cheap moving boxes from different orderings that we didn’t know what to do with.  Then it hit us, we could create a vast and tall wall of boxes to store everything in, in order to create more space.  Here is what we did.

It all started when we began working in the living room.  We noticed that the entire room needed to have the carpet ripped up and several floorboards replaced.  This was a crazy subfloor job and it ended up taking up not only the living room but the kitchen to store the things in as well.  Then we had a crazy amount of tools everywhere.  While this was going on and yes we were doing it all by ourselves we decided we needed something to change.  We needed help and we really needed more space.  Our garage was totally full of tools and parts for the home and completely disorganized.  So the goal was to take all of those cheap moving boxes we had and all the internet cardboard boxes and start stacking all the items and tools vertically.  We had space to go up but the ground was strung out with things.  So we started to pile it all up by job or by use.

We took large boxes and labeled them in order of the project the pieces were needed to go into and also the importance of the tools.  So toolboxes had numbers from 1 to 5 and projects boxes simply had their name on them.  Then we started to stack them to the brim and put the most important boxes on the top of the stack.  This was so they were easier access.  Now what we were able to do was to clear a little more than half of the garage of useable space.  This meant that we were able to also clear about 2/3 of the kitchen of space as well.   With this, we ended up being able to do more projects in the garage and not in the home itself.  This left us with not only a more usable space but a safer space as well.  Fewer particles were in the air constantly and we didn’t have to tape off rooms in the house with tarps constantly. 

So all in all the moving into a fixer-upper during COVID was possibly a bad idea, but we managed to use what we had to make it better.

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