How to Send Canned Goods in Mail

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Careful packing is the key to successfully sending canned goods in the mail. When done right, the package will arrive intact and on time with dent-free cans. The heavy weight may invite potential damage to the container’s exterior during transport, so a sturdy corrugated cardboard box works best. Use any combination of craft paper, packing peanuts, bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard strips as packing filler to prevent product damage. Affixing the correct shipping address and the right amount of postage improve the package’s chances of safe arrival at the desired destination.

Weigh the items.
scale image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com

Weigh the cans and an estimated amount of packing filler.

Gather the cans into a group for packing.
canned fish studio isolated over white image by dinostock from Fotolia.com

Gather the canned goods into a group. If you choose to wrap the individual cans in filler for extra protection, do it now. Arrange the cans side by side in a rectangle. Add cardboard inserts between them if desired.

Measure the items.
steel ruler image by dwags from Fotolia.com

Measure the overall length, width and height of the canned goods. Add at least four inches to the height, length and width to accommodate two inches of filler on each side.

Choose a box that meets all requirements for shipping.
cardboard box image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com

Find a strong cardboard box that is no smaller than these dimensions and meets the maximum weight capacity needed. Allow extra weight for packing materials. Seal the bottom of the box with a strip of packing tape across each of the three outside seams.

Use filler to protect the canned goods in transit.
packing peanuts background image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com

Put two inches of filler in the bottom of the box. Place the cans inside the box as closely together as possible.

Place filler around the canned goods so that there is no free space between the cans and the box walls. Ensure proper fit by temporarily closing the box lid, then adding or subtracting filler until the cans are snug and the package does not bulge. Place an address label inside the box.

Securely tape the box shut.
scatolone image by haruspex from Fotolia.com

Shut the box. Secure it tightly with packing tape across all seams. Surround the box with a strip of packing tape across the center lines, both horizontally and vertically.

Label the box top with the appropriate mailing address and return address information.

Take the package to your local post office and pay the appropriate postage due, adding options of insurance, delivery verification or Priority Mail.

Tips

  • The maximum weight capacity is generally printed on the bottom of a corrugated cardboard box.

    To test for a snug fit, hold the box top shut and shake the box back and forth. If you can feel the cans moving around, add more filler.

    Do not place the address label across a seam.

    Cover the address label with clear packing tape to prevent smearing in case of inclement weather.

    The U.S. Postal Service will pick up packages from any address with appropriate postage paid and notification that pick-up is needed.

    The U.S. Postal Service offers Priority Mail flat rate boxes based on size, rather than weight. Shipping canned goods this way is generally more economical.

References

Resources

About the Author

A former community newspaper reporter, columnist and photojournalist in Virginia, MJ Knoblock holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has been writing for more than 20 years.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images