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How do I package a parcel?

It’s important to think carefully when you package a parcel for dispatch. An item that is not prepared properly for transit could end up being lost or damaged.

Advice for wrapping and packaging your item

The key thing to remember is that your parcel will be entering a courier sorting hub, where it will join thousands of other packages on a conveyor belt, so labels reading ‘fragile’ or ‘handle with care’ will likely be ineffective.

Packaging materials and supplies

In order to package a parcel, you’ll need:

  • An appropriately sized cardboard box;
  • Packaging or parcel tape;
  • Cardboard box dividers;
  • Protective materials, including bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue paper and polystyrene chips;
  • A marker pen;
  • Access to a printer.
Cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, masking tape and tape measure

Package a parcel so the item is safe and secure

Choose a suitable container

Take your cardboard box, making sure it’s large enough to fit your item(s) in. Be aware that if your box is too large, your item could slide around the box and get damaged. To avoid this happening, use cardboard box dividers to reduce the chance of goods moving in transit. If your box is old, make sure to remove all other labels or addresses.

Tip: Always consider strength and padding when choosing your box. If your box is old and worn, it’s far more prone to breakage. Try and use a brand new, double-walled box to pack your items in. It’s always best to use a corrugated cardboard box where possible, especially if your items are valuable.

Pack your items tightly

Place your items in the box, filling the gaps with your protective materials. Make sure your item is protected on all sides, particularly if your item is fragile.

Create your labels

Print two copies of your label, if your chosen delivery address needs one. Attach one to the outside of the box, using clear tape to ensure that all the writing is legible. Pop the other label inside the box, just in case the main label falls off in transit.

Tape the box shut

Once all your items are packed securely in the box, seal the box with strong parcel tape. Double-check that the box is properly sealed and that no items are loose or rattling around. If you want to make your parcel extra protected, use strapping to secure your box.

Check the parcel weight and dimensions

Once your box is safely sealed, measure the height and weight of your box. Double-check that you have provided the courier with the correct weight and dimensions to avoid additional charges along the way. You can measure your package using kitchen scales or weight scales and a measuring tape.

Note: At Impact Express, we only accept measurements in centimetres (cm) and kilograms (kg).

Man packaging a parcel ready for shipment

Add delivery details to the box

Clearly write the collection and delivery address onto your parcel using your marker pen, making sure to include a reference number if you have one.

Tip: If your package is over 25kg, mark it as “heavy” so that your courier knows to be careful when lifting it.

Record any distinguishing features

Have a look at your parcel and make a note of any defining features. This way, if your parcel needs identifying later, the courier will be able to recognise it.

Send your parcel

When your parcel is all packed up and ready to go, you can drop your parcel off at your nearest DHL Service Point. Alternatively, we can arrange a DHL courier to collect the parcel from your work or home address.

We always aim to provide a 1–4-hour window for all courier collections, so you know roughly what time we’ll be with you. Please remember to hand over the archive label to the delivery driver.

What not to do when you package a parcel for transit

Don’t package your goods loosely

Badly packaged goods are far more likely to shift position and break. They may also not be covered by contents insurance.

Don’t use attractive wrapping or packaging materials

While your parcel may look interesting, there’s a chance it may not be sturdy enough to survive shipping.

Don’t use circular tubes

These types of packages are prone to rolling around and may be more difficult to pack and ship. If needs be, always use triangular mailing tubes to ensure the safety of the items.

Woman holding box labelled fragile

Avoid cloth or fabric bags when you package a parcel

Weak textiles won’t provide enough protection for your goods. Always use cardboard boxes to ensure the safety of your items.

Don’t rely on warning labels

Attempting to mitigate poor packaging with ‘fragile’ and ‘handle with care’ labels won’t make much difference. These labels provide useful information for the courier, but the machines used to sort your packages will not heed these warnings.

Don’t use string or cord when you package a parcel

These can get tangled up in the sorting apparatus. Keep your packaging label as flat as possible to ensure your parcel has a smooth journey.

Don’t ship illegal goods

Dangerous or counterfeit items could make you liable for prosecution. For a list of what can and cannot be sent via our courier service, take a look at our restricted items section.

Tracking your parcel

When your parcel has been received by DHL, you’ll be able to track its journey via our online portal.

If you want to double-check the status of your shipment or if you have any further questions, please give us a call on 01753 683700.


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