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For Seniors: Where to Find Packing Materials to Ship Your eBay Item

How do you find the shipping supplies you need to send your eBay item to its buyer? The place to start looking for packing material is the same place you should start looking for things to sell on eBay: your house.

If you save all the boxes, bubble wrap, padding, and packing peanuts you get in the mail, you’ll rarely have to buy packing material. If you recently got a mail-order shipment box that was used only once — and it’s a good, sturdy box with no dents or dings — there’s nothing wrong with using it again.

If you do have to go beyond your house to find packing material, try the following resources:

  • Go to your local supermarket, department store, or drugstore and ask the store manager for boxes. Stores like giving boxes away so that they don’t have to compact the boxes and put them in the trash or recycling bin.

  • Contact shippers such as UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service. These shippers offer all kinds of free supplies as long as you use these supplies to ship things with their service. If you want, the Postal Service also ships free boxes, labels, and shipping forms for Express Mail, Priority Mail, and Global Priority Mail to your house. In the United States, you can order by phone (800-222-1811) or online. When placing a USPS order:

    • Specify the service (Priority Mail or Express Mail, for example) you’re using because the boxes and the labels all come with the service name printed all over them, and you can use them only for that specific service. The boxes come flat, so you have to assemble them.

    • Order in bulk. Address labels come in rolls of 500 and boxes in packs of 25.

  • Shop for supplies with eBay and online sellers. Many terrific eBay sellers are out to offer you good deals. (You can’t beat eBay sellers for quality goods, low prices, and great service.)

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When ordering a large shipment, the distance it has to travel from the vendor’s place to yours can tack on quite a bit of cash (and time) to your shipping costs!

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