Whether you are an online seller owning various small businesses or regularly shipping gifts to family and friends, you can relate to the challenge of having shipping supplies spilling all over your home or office. Setting up a shipping station where all your packing supplies are in one convenient location makes assembling packages for shipping much more manageable.
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Unique Challenges of Organizing Shipping Supplies
The sheer variety and number of shipping supplies can be overwhelming. Different sizes and shapes of boxes, envelopes, bags, padding, adhesives, labels, bubble wrap, packing paper, tape, pallets, and containers exist. It can be challenging to know where to begin when organizing these items.
In addition to the physical challenges associated with organizing shipping supplies, there is also the issue of cost-effectiveness. Shipping materials can be expensive, and keeping them organized will help you to know when to reorder. Removing the guesswork ensures that you don't order too much and overspend unnecessarily.
Steps to Organize Shipping Supplies
Follow these steps to set up a tidy and accessible area to store shipping supplies and prepare packages.
Identify a Space
Think about what type of storage space you will need to create a packing station and what your shipping process looks like. Will you need a work surface? How many cardboard boxes will you need to store, and how much space will they occupy?
Once you have decided how much space you will need, think about the best location in your home. If you routinely ship heavy items or large boxes, you will not want your shipping supplies to be in the basement. Carrying packages out to the car from the ground floor will be much easier.
Depending on your needs, your shipping supply space could be a small closet or an entire room. The most important thing is that the space works for you and your specific needs.
Add Storage Solutions
Once you have identified the perfect space, measure it and start to visualize which storage solutions will help you to stay organized. Having the entire process set up in one place is ideal. These are the best ways to manage and store shipping supplies.
Shelving units work well for storing cardboard boxes, packing tape, tissue paper, small envelopes, and different types of packing supplies. The most common types of shelving are:
- Floating shelves. Heavy-duty floating shelves will provide space for storing boxes, packing supplies, tape, and other necessities. We prefer these floating shelves because they can support up to 800lbs.
- Wire shelving unit. Adjustable wire shelving units are perfect storing shipping supplies. We prefer this one because the shelves are easily adjustable and each shelf supports 350lbs.
- Cube Shelving. Construct an entire wall of storage with a cube storage shelving unit. We love this one because it comes in different sizes and is super sturdy. The cubes are large enough to store small boxes.
Shelving and Cabinet System
Several options are available if you have enough space for a complete packing supply station. This industrial-style cabinet system keeps all your supplies neatly behind closed doors and even has a packaging surface.
If you prefer a shelving and cabinet system that looks more like home decor, we love this 5-tier bookcase. The bookshelves are perfect for storing boxes and packing envelopes.
Pegboard Wall Storage
Adding a pegboard wall allows you to have flexible storage space. Shelves, hooks, and baskets can be adjusted for maximum efficiency. This storage solution will enable you to hang your tape guns, label printer, and other loose items. If you have limited space, using vertical space is your best bet.
If you have larger quantities of boxes, tape, or other shipping supplies on hand, consider using storage containers and large plastic bins to keep excess organized and ready to replenish existing stock.
Best Shipping Supply Organizing Accessories
Now that you've established a packing space to keep your shipping supplies and a general organizing system, the next step is to decide which organization accessories will work best for your system.
Here are some of the best organization accessories to bring order and peace to your shipping supplies.
Boxes and Bins
Stacking bins can be a great way to organize small items like labels, tape, and packing materials. Label each bin with what it contains so you know where everything is.
Drawers can be used for smaller items like bubble wrap or labels – think of them as miniature filing cabinets.
If you plan to have multiple people handling the packing process, the packing table must be adjustable so that packers don't hurt their backs by leaning over too far.
Other Tips for Organizing Shipping Supplies
When it comes time to organize your shipping supplies, the method of organization isn't the only important thing. Accessories are helpful, but there are other things that you can do to help make sure your supplies remain orderly.
Forecast Your Supply Needs
One of the best things that you can do is learn how to forecast your supply inventory needs. This simple step will ensure you have the right amount of packaging supplies on hand without overstocking. Keeping an inventory list can help with this.
Rotate Your Stock
Another key piece of advice is to rotate your stock regularly. This is a good way to ensure that none of your shipping boxes or supplies keep being shoved to the back while the new supplies go in front.
It's a good idea to label all of your supplies so you know what they are and where they belong. This will make it easier for everyone in the shipping department to quickly grab the right items without searching through all the supplies.
Only Buy in Bulk If You Save Money
Buying in bulk might seem like a good idea, but if it's causing organization issues, you could be costing yourself more money than you're saving. Only purchase items in bulk if you are sure that it will be more cost-effective.
Organize Supplies By Product Type
The final thing that you can do to help with your organization efforts is to group your shipping supplies by the product that you need them for. For example, if you sell multiple types of products, separate the labels and packing materials by product type. This will help make it easier to find the right supplies when you need them and can also improve your packing and shipping efficiency.
By following these tips, you can take the chaos out of shipping supplies and create an efficient, organized space for them. By taking the time to consider your storage options and accessories, as well as forecasting your supply needs, rotating stock regularly, and labeling everything correctly, you can ensure that your shipping supplies are always within reach.