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Hi there! So I've shipped lots of mugs and smaller items so far, and hand-delivered dinnerware sets, but I've never shipped a dinnerware set.  Need some help figuring out what pieces and how many of them will fit in what size box, and the best way to ship it (within USA). I have 6 11in dinnerware plates, 6 7in salad plates, and 6 30oz (2 pint) beer steins. It's kind of a funny mix of pieces to be mailing, so I need to figure out if flat rate USPS boxes are best or a different kind of Priority Mail box.

What do you think? Suggestions for how to pack these items and what sizes of boxes to use?

Thanks in advance!

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Weight is the killer here. I'd do a comparison here between the USPS and FedEx. I don't think you will find flat rate boxes large enough to fit a set of properly wrapped plates and mugs. Mark C. might have a good idea of where to go and how to pack.

JohnnyK

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I'd pop down to a FedEx or UPS store and ask them, they have certain packing requirements for glass to be insured, I used to ship aquariums and they were helpful, I watched and then packed the same way the next time with my own cheaper supplies.  I don't think USPS will save you any dough here.

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You can fit each group of items in one box. Put some thin foam between each plate, and wrap up the set of 6 as one solid item. Wrap them tight with plastic wrap or tape so they can't rattle, then pack them in the box as if it were one piece. Figure out what size box and approximate weight, then go online to USPS or UPS or FedEx and put the info in and you can see how much it'll cost.

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I can’t fully explain why this works, I just know that it works. Pack plates into a shipping carton vertically on their edges, not horizontally. In that orientation they can absorb more shock, and the plates won’t transfer shock to each other. Use a rectangular box, so the no matter how the box is put down, the plates are still vertical. If you use a cube shaped box, it’s possible to put it down with the plates horizontal. 

I don’t think USPS makes flat rate boxes that are big enough for this. Go to Staples or the Container Store for boxes and packing materials. If you think you will be shipping things like this regularly, Uline.com is the best source for bulk supplies. 

The three different items should be in their own boxes, so none of the boxes is too heavy (plates are heavy!), and so each one has an ideally sized box. Too small and you won’t have enough cushion. Too big and you’re wasting money on shipping costs. It’s hard to say exactly what size boxes you need yet. I would prepare all the items in packing materials, then measure for the right size box. Measure the size of the bundle and add 2 inches to all six sides. 

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Be very aware of the fine print involving the insurance of glass or ceramic items.

No postal service that I'm aware of will insure glass or ceramic beyond a  $100 basic merchandise amount plus shipping, regardless of how it is packed or how much insurance you purchase. 

Your best insurance is your pack job.

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I have both some medium and some large flat rate boxes from USPS. Do you think these are a good idea?

It has also been suggested to go to Fedex or UPS because of the weight.

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9 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Be very aware of the fine print involving the insurance of glass or ceramic items.

No postal service that I'm aware of will insure glass or ceramic beyond a  $100 basic merchandise amount plus shipping, regardless of how it is packed or how much insurance you purchase. 

Your best insurance is your pack job.

https://www.theupsstore.com/pack-ship/artwork

If you click through to the details they show the restrictions.  You must have it packed by UPS to get the guarantee. 

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2 hours ago, liambesaw said:

https://www.theupsstore.com/pack-ship/artwork

If you click through to the details they show the restrictions.  You must have it packed by UPS to get the guarantee. 

You can still make a claim if they break it, even if the UPS store didn't pack it for you. However, it's really difficult to get them to pay up unless it's packed to their standards, which are ridiculous. If I remember correctly, the plates must have 2 inches of packing between them, and the whole thing must be double boxed. That ends up costing a small fortune in packing, and a huge box that's expensive to ship. If you pack the right, with everything good and tight so they can't clang around, they'll survive. I sent a dozen small vases in one box last week and they all survived.

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27 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

You can still make a claim if they break it, even if the UPS store didn't pack it for you. However, it's really difficult to get them to pay up unless it's packed to their standards, which are ridiculous. If I remember correctly, the plates must have 2 inches of packing between them, and the whole thing must be double boxed. That ends up costing a small fortune in packing, and a huge box that's expensive to ship. If you pack the right, with everything good and tight so they can't clang around, they'll survive. I sent a dozen small vases in one box last week and they all survived.

Oh for sure, I just recommended taking them to the store to see how they pack them to ensure safe delivery.  That is what I did with aquariums and after the first one (which cost around 30 dollars in packaging materials), I bought the supplies myself for consecutive shipments for much much cheaper haha.  

Probably not worth having them pack and ship a dinnerware set, but I were shipping something one of a kind or very expensive it would probably be worth it.  Especially considering the way my local FedEx guy handles our packages haha

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I have shipped lots of dinnerware-it usually is with UPS. All double boxed and in one large outer box. There has been lots written up on this so use the search function on main page to see whats been shown.

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mea is right, pack so the plates are vertical.  in addition, put extra cardboard under each vertical side so there is more cushioning if they are dropped.   if you wrap the plates together so they  are one solid pack, add two pieces of cardboard on each vertical surface inside the box, pack as described above in a second box, you have a little more shock preventative.  lots of dead box skeletons around here sometimes.  the recycle pick up guy just shakes his head.

if you live anywhere near a large car dealer with a body shop or any big body shop, ask for their foam wrap.   they have to pay to toss it and it makes marvelous weight saving, soft packing material.  they might even save if for you if you agree to pick it up regularly.

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