How to Ship & Pack Items Sold on eBay

An efficient shipping and packing routine can be time and money saving for your online business. Done correctly, you can turn a tedious and time consuming part of your business into an efficient business operation.

1. Get shipping supplies

You’ll need to purchase boxes and other supplies once you know what items you’ll be shipping. Whenever possible, use a new corrugated box. The more times a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities, so a previously used box may not adequately protect your shipment. Thinner boxes, such as most shoe boxes or gift boxes, may not be strong enough for shipping. If you must reuse a box, make sure it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Remove any labels and all other shipment markings from the box.

2. Pack the item

Be sure your box is the appropriate size. A container that’s too big, even when packed with cushioning, may allow your items to shift too much and become damaged. A container that’s too small may not provide sufficient padding, also potentially causing damage. Choose a box strength that is suitable for the contents you are shipping. On the bottom of boxes, manufacturers provide a strength certification—exactly how much weight the box can hold before breaking or rupturing. Be sure the items you send out are in tip-top shape and appear as you described them in your listing.

3. Wrap the item

It’s important to cushion the contents of your package properly. Proper cushioning materials include bubble wrap, packing peanuts or crumpled craft paper. Be sure that you wrap each item separately. Fragile articles need both suitable separation from each other and clearance from the corners and sides of the box. Each item should be surrounded by at least two inches of cushioning and be placed at least two inches away from the walls of the box. This will protect your items against damage and shield them from the shock and vibration that can be conducted from the exterior of the box to its contents in transit. Before sealing your package, try tilting it back and forth. If you feel or hear movement inside, you probably need more cushioning.

4. Seal the box

Proper closure of your box is just as important as proper cushioning for the safety and security of your shipment. To close a box securely, use packaging tape (at least two inches in width). Do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, string, or paper over-wrap. Apply three strips to both the top and bottom of the box.

5. Schedule pick up

Depending on the shipping service you use, you can generally call to schedule the shipper to pick items up at your home or business. The Postal Service offers free pick up service while UPS and FedEx charge a fee for the pick up.


  • Depending on the size of the item you sell, you can get free packing and shipping from the post office. Check out the web page at USPS eBay Supplies for boxes that are co-branded for eBay and USPS Priority mail
  • Having your packages picked up is probably the biggest time savings you can get.

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