Pack parcel for shipping

How to package a parcel for shipping

16th February 2022, 8:08am in Shipping Advice by Amy Newham

Everyone loves to receive a package in the post. There's something special about knowing that someone has taken the time to prepare your item for safe delivery to your doorstep. If you are an online store, it's even more critical that your products are packed carefully to help encourage positive feedback and repeat orders.

Whether shipping domestically or internationally, your parcel will be transported and handled multiple times through different weather conditions. All couriers use automated sorting technology and goods will travel on conveyor belts, so your item must be well packaged to withstand a small tumble!

Here's our guide on how to pack your parcel:

Check if your item is Prohibited or Restricted

Different countries and couriers all have their own list of prohibited or restricted items. Ensure you check the list before you start packing your parcel to avoid disappointment and a potential fine!

Here are some examples featured in our video:

Keep in mind that some more generic phrases are often used to detail various products. For example, 'jewellery' can include necklaces, bracelets, rings, cufflinks etc. Of course, if you are still unsure, our friendly parcel experts are always here to help!

Choose the right box

Choosing the right box for shipping

Always remember the golden rule: Any item sent through our services must be encased in cardboard!

Choosing the right size of your box will also allow you to save on shipping costs. It doesn't matter if it's a book or a bicycle; any delivery booked through Interparcel must be encased in cardboard; otherwise, it cannot be transported. So, there are some questions to consider when finding the right box for your item:

Can your goods comfortably fit in the box?

It might seem trivial, but when choosing a box, you must ensure it's appropriately sized for the goods you are sending. Under-filled boxes are likely to collapse, whereas overloaded boxes may burst- so you need to find one that is 'just right'.

Your cardboard box should be slightly bigger than the size of your product to leave 3 - 5 cm (2 inches) between your product and the sides of the box. Do not attach two boxes! You will need to fill that space with cushioning materials to protect your items from impact.

Similarly, if you send more than one item, you need to leave 3 - 5 cm (2 inches) between each item. When enabled in your Interparcel account, Our Smart Boxing feature can help package your imported Shipping Manager shipments into as few boxes as possible.

Have you removed all previous labels or stickers?

If you are reusing a box, you must remove all previous labels or stickers; otherwise, it can create delivery confusion, such as wrong delivery location or scanning errors. Equally, check that the box is in good shape and clear of any holes or tears.

Is the cardboard box double-walled?

A box with double corrugated layers will protect your products better than a thinner box because it is more robust, resists heavy products, and is better suited to support the weight of other packages.

If you send a smaller letterbox-sized item, a packet might be better suited. However, do not ever use bags made of fabric or cloth!

Protect your items

The most important part of your product packaging is to protect your product to avoid damage during transit. To do this, you will need various cushioning materials for the bottom, sides, top of the box and in between your items. The products themselves will need to be well wrapped and protected as well. Don't forget to leave between 3 – 5 cm (2 inches) between your product and the sides of the box. Fragile items, in particular, should be placed in the centre of a package, ensuring they don't touch the sides.

Here's a list of reliable cushioning materials that will help keep your contents protected:

Parcel cushioning materials

Bubble wrap

Affordable, hardwearing, and fun to pop, bubble wrap is an excellent cushioning material to use in your box. The air-filled pockets are commonly used with delicate items and are particularly useful when wrapping individual items.

Foam packing peanuts

Whether you hate the sound of them squeaking or not, you can't deny that packing peanuts are the perfect material to fill void spaces between your products or fragile items. Biodegradable peanuts can also be disposed of by dissolving them in water to be friendly to the planet. However, it's always a good idea to hang on to previous materials and reuse them for future deliveries.


Are you finished with yesterday's newspaper? Scrunch it up into small balls and use it as a cushioning material in your box. You will get the same result as packing peanuts that you may not have to hand.

Eco-friendly alternatives

Hex wrap and shredded cardboard are two environmentally-friendly alternatives to bubble wrap, for example, and if used correctly, they will keep your goods well protected during transit. Hex wrap can be easily torn off the roll and the paper interlocks on itself, meaning there's no need for an extra adhesive.

Likewise, shredded cardboard is lightweight and is useful to fill in between heavier items as it won't add much to the overall weight of your parcel.

Securely seal the box & attach your shipping label

You want to ensure your parcel is securely fastened to withstand transit. We recommend sealing and securing the box lids and sides tightly with strong packing tape. Our guide on packing your parcel demonstrates the best way of packaging your items. It's important to note not to over seal a box as Customs authorities can open all shipments for inspection.

Print or handwrite your delivery label and attach it to the top side of the box. The driver will collect your parcel with the label facing up. You'll need to secure three copies to the outside of your package in waterproof plastic wallets - sandwich bags can work great for this purpose! If your shipment is destined for overseas, ensure you have included all other relevant documentation, such as the Customs form.

Final run-through!

Seal parcel ready for shipping

How to pack a parcel for delivery:

  • Use a double-walled cardboard box
  • Wrap and protect loose items
  • Fill any space with internal packaging
  • Use strong packing tape
  • Securely attach labels and documents

Voila! Your parcel is ready to send!

To get a quote for your shipment, enter your parcel measurements and weight into our quick quote tool for an instant list of courier services and start sending with Interparcel!

Contact our parcel experts if you're interested in sending a package with Interparcel but need a question or two answered. They are available via a call, email, or live chat message between 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday or 9 am - 1 pm on weekends.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to hear about our promotions, discounts, updates and much more...
Updating content...