Now it’s time to focus on the exterior of your package. If you are using mailing envelopes, this typically involves three quick and easy steps:
1) Peel the protective strip from the sealant.
2) Close the envelope flap.
3) Apply a little pressure to the seal to ensure the flap is firmly stuck down.
Again, there is a bit more to it if you are using shipping boxes. Have you ever heard of the H-taping method? If not, don’t worry, it’s not as scientific as it sounds.
H-taping is just a way to ensure that all potential points of weakness in a shipping box are strengthened with tape, as well as securely sealing the contents inside the box.
Tale of the Tape
The first step in H-taping is to make sure you use the best tape for the job. Choose from any of the following types of tape:
- Shipping tape: This is the best type of tape for packages
- Packaging tape (either the clear or the brown kind)
- Reinforced packing tape
- Brown polypropylene tape
- Electrical tape
Contrary to popular belief, duct tape is a bad idea. Although it can seem that duct tape is a solution to all problems, even those that have nothing to do with ducts, it’s a terrible choice for preparing packages. That’s because cardboard is the Kryptonite of duct tape, making it almost non-sticky and too easy to peel off—our advice is to avoid it like the plague.
Cellophane tapes like Sellotape, and masking tapes too, are far from ideal for packages, so try to avoid them. Whichever option you settle for, be sure to use tape that’s at least two inches wide.
With the perfect roll of tape in hand, you’re ready to make your “H.” Close the top flaps of your shipping box and apply a single strip of tape all along the gap between the two flaps. Then run one more length along each end of the box, folding it to seal the closure gaps with an inch-width of tape on the top of the box and an inch-width on the side. Repeat the H-taping process along the bottom seams of the box as well.
Label Like You Mean It
The next step is to label the sealed mailing envelope or shipping box. Your courier or last-mile delivery provider may specify the type of labels they require you to use. For example, here at Shipa Delivery, we provide our business customers with direct access to a dashboard on our platform.
The dashboard makes it super-easy to label packages for throughput at commercial speed. It enables our business customers to download and print air waybills (AWBs) pre-populated with addresses and other valuable package details.
Of course, you may not be not packaging commercially, or you might be using a courier that doesn’t have labeling specifications. If so, here’s the practice we recommend to our non-business customers:
1) Write or print the full delivery address, and a return address (along with any other information that will help the courier or carrier deliver your package successfully) on a shipping label and place it inside your shipping box, along with the contents. Naturally, you will need to complete this step before sealing the shipping box. If you use an inner box, the label can be applied to the outside of the inner container after you seal it.
2) Complete the same address details and delivery instructions on a second label, and attach this to the largest surface of the shipping box (the long side or the top of the box). It can also be a good idea to cover this second label with clear tape, to protect the printed or written details from smudging and reduce the risk of the label tearing.