If you’re a new small business selling online, you have likely realized that you need packing materials but quickly came to discover that they can cost a fortune! Today I am going to tell you all the ways you can pack your items securely FOR FREE while your business grows! Let’s get started:
IDEA #1: MAKE YOUR OWN. One of the absolute easiest ways to get packing materials for free is to pickup a cheap paper shredder and make your own. Think of all the stuff you can shred: Junk mail / all those annoying coupons, the Uline catalog, Newspapers, all of those pieces of computer paper that you don’t need…. It ends up being a LOT of packing material when shredded. The Aurora is under $32 on Amazon and creates the exact type of packing material you need:
However, the Aurora has some mixed reviews due to the small capacity basket, so I would suggest spending an additional $8.51 and getting a better quality product, such as the RAGU Shredder:
And if you don’t like either of those, there’s a ton of cost effective shredders on Amazon Prime.
IDEA #2: ASK FOR IT. Day-old newspapers are essentially trash to small stores (7-11’s, the corner store, the mom and pop shop in your neighborhood, etc). All of these places throw away (or recycle) yesterdays news. If you simply ASK for it, they will likely be thrilled to have you take it. ***JUST MAKE SURE, if you commit to picking up yesterdays paper every day, that you show up to get it. Don’t waste the businesses time.
IDEA #3: PLASTIC BAGS. If all else fails, plastic grocery bags make excellent padding. It doesn’t look super nice, but it works fabulous if you wad them up:
IDEA #4: ASK AN AUTO SHOP OR MACHINE SHOP FOR BUBBLE WRAP!! These business get a lot of parts shipped to them that are packed inside of bubble wrap sheets! They have no use for the bubble wrap so they throw it out. Trust me, our warehouse is in a plaza with 5 auto shops. Find a local SMALL BUSINESS auto shop or machine shop and simply ask. Most will be thrilled to give it to you because it costs money every time their dumpster is emptied = the less they put in the dumpster, the more money they save.
IDEA #5: DAMAGED WRAPPING PAPER. This isn’t 100% free, but it’s super, super cheap (almost free). Keep your eye on the clearance section at stores like Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, about 3 weeks after a holiday. They dump wrapping paper and tissue paper super cheap, BUT if the paper is bent it gets sold for nothing… like 50 cents for the whole roll. AND, if you see paper on clearance AND it’s damaged but it’s not marked down due to the damage, just ask. They’ll absolutely knock an additional 20%-40% off because it’s ruined.
IDEA #6: KRAFT PAPER. This stuff is awesome because it’s super stiff, so a little goes a long way and you’ll use 50% less than if you use regular wrapping paper. For under $13 you can get 1,200 sq ft:
If you need to use it as packaging material, just crumble it up. Additionally you can use it to wrap boxes if needed:
And, if you’re a Stay at Home parent, throw some on your kitchen table and give the kiddies crayons or markers.
BONUS IDEA: If you can find a local small business who specializes in moving people from one home to another (a local "mover"), they usually have tons of packing paper. Their customer purchases the paper for the move then wants to mover to dispose of the paper after the move. Just like with the auto shop, the mover is usually ELATED to have you take it so they don't have to throw it away!
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