While people can e-mail words instantly, it still takes time for packages to travel from town to town and shore to shore, and the United States Postal Service is an essential part of that transaction. For a lot of items, the best way to ship is using a bubble mailer, which combines an envelope with bubble wrap, and comes in a variety of sizes to hold a number of objects. Although bubble mailers are convenient, it is important to use the right size envelope and to seal it properly.
Items you will need
- Bubble mailer
- An object to ship
- Packing tape
- Scale (optional)
- Stamps (optional)
Packing and Shipping
Prepare the object for shipping. Bubble mailers are ideal for shipping mostly flat, sturdy objects like books, magazines, DVDs, CDs or other things that can retain their shape. They are not as useful for delicate things or items that are prone to crushing or other damage--for these, you should use a box packed with packing material.
Select a bubble mailer with the right dimensions to fit your object. Place the object on top of the envelope to check. If there is not at least a 1/2-inch of clearance at the open side of the envelope and its other side, and at least 1-inch on the other sides, the envelope may be too small for the object, and trying to jam it in there may damage the envelope.
Slide the object inside, taking care not to pop any of the bubbles or rip the envelope. Push the object as far inside as it will go.
Remove the protective strip from the adhesive flap. If the object has more than a few inches between its edge and the flap, fold the envelope tightly against the object and seal the flap against the envelope, otherwise, fold the flap over.
Write or print the shipping address on center of a piece of paper, and write your return address on the top-left corner.
Tape the address paper onto the envelope. Wrap the packing tape tightly around the sides of the envelope, covering the flap if possible. To prevent damage while shipping, you need to be sure the object doesn't slide around too much in the envelope.
Ship the package. Either take it to the Post Office and ask them to calculate the postage, or weigh it and calculate the shipping using your scale and the Postage Calculator listed under Resources. Apply enough stamps to cover the postage calculated.
If you've sold an object, be sure to include an invoice when shipping. Place it around the object when you insert it into the envelope in step 3.
If you mail using postage stamps, you may spend a few more cents than is necessary to ship the package. The Post Office itself will also offer a wide variety of shipping options, such as Media Mail, Parcel Post, or First Class. It also offers optional services like insurance and Return Receipt.
- Tara Novak/Demand Media