How to Package and Ship Clothes ( 7 Steps to Do)

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Shipping clothes is an essential part of our modern life. Whether you ship clothes to a customer or a factory shipping to a buyer, you need to know the basics of shipping clothing.

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Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Packoi Team

What type of materials do you need to package clothes? How much will it cost to ship clothes? To answer all these questions, we have laid out the ultimate packaging guide for shipping clothes.

Different Types of Packaging Materials

Choosing a suitable packing material is the first and most crucial step in shipping clothes. Luckily, there are several packaging material options available for domestic and commercial use. These materials can be differentiated based on price, rigidity, and thickness.

Thinner materials are less rigid and provide less protection. Hence, they are considerably less expensive. Following is a brief list of the most popular clothing packing materials.

1. Poly Mailer Packets

Poly Mailer Bags

A polythene mailer is a lightweight and cost-effective plastic bag that is commonly used for apparel shipping. These bags are made of low-density polyethylene and are surprisingly robust for their thickness.

Poly mailers are particularly useful for high-volume local shipping. Low-margin clothing orders like t-shirts, sweatpants, and jeans don’t justify the use of high-performance packing materials. Just pack your jeans in a poly mailer bag, stick a shipping label on it, and take it to a mail or delivery company.

If you buy poly mailer bags in bulk, a bulk discount will make this the cheapest way to ship clothes. You might as well think of such a low price as free packaging.

2. Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard Box Example

Honestly, if you need to ship clothes or any other product, cardboard boxes should be at the top of your list. They are lightweight, cost-efficient, and provide good protection. Cardboard boxes only have one flaw, and that’s their size. A typical cardboard box will occupy the same space as a dozen poly mailers.

Choosing between the two packaging materials comes down to cost and efficiency. Cardboard boxes for clothes packaging cost slightly more than poly mailer packets, and they take longer to package clothes. So, a typical application of cardboard involves either expensive or large clothing shipments.

The higher rigidity of cardboard provides much better protection while maintaining a smaller carbon footprint. You can ship your clothes in one of two types of cardboard boxes.

1) Hard Cardboard

wardrobe box

Hard cardboard is a superior type of shipping box material that is mainly reserved for premium and luxury clothing. This material is extremely resilient to impact damage and will not deform under ordinary operations.

Hard cardboard also comes in full-color printed options to maintain a certain stylistic look. Hence, it is not uncommon for a branded wardrobe box to be made of this material.

Brands often use wardrobe boxes, which can avoid wrinkles and the extrusion of clothes and minimize shipping damage.

For international shipping options, you cannot beat hard cardboard. It can survive even the roughest of journeys, and the added material expense is negligible compared to shipping costs.

2) Corrugated Cardboard

Cardboard Packaging  Boxes

Corrugated boxes are a low-cost alternative to hard cardboard. They provide a similar level of damage protection at a fraction of the cost. You will typically see this type of packaging material being used to ship heavy products worldwide.

The shipping process can be quite brutal on clothing. Even the tiniest scratch can damage a perfectly good piece of clothing, and the chances of damage only increase with international shipping.

When shipping apparel across the world, it is recommended that you ship products in an individual clear plastic garment bag. Then you compile them together into large shipments using corrugated shipping boxes.

3. Specialty Packaging Materials

Cardboard Tube Packaging

If you’re shipping shirts or jeans, you have some easy options like poly mailer bags or cardboard boxes. But for certain unique items, you may want to look into custom packaging materials. Ties, socks, undergarments, and such benefit from more compact packing containers, like paper or cardboard tubes.

Cardboard tubes take less space than a box, so using them for shipping small clothing is a no-brainer. Tube packaging not only reduces shipping costs but also brings a unique unboxing experience.

These paper tubes are very similar to the ones found at the center of tissue paper rolls. But the material is the only thing they have in common with tissue paper rolls. You can customize tube packages to display your brand colors and logo.

How to Package and Ship Clothes?

Whether you are an individual trying to ship clothes to a relative or a large company in the clothing business, you will generally follow the same guidelines for freight. So here is a complete guide on how to package clothing for shipping.

Step 1: Clothing Type

Before you package clothes for shipping, you need to outline the type of clothing. You can categorize your clothing into the following categories:

  • Daily Wear (Jeans, T-shirts, Sweatpants, etc.)
  • Luxury Clothes (Wedding Dress, Tailored Suit, etc. )
  • Delicate Items (Undergarments, Swimwear, Silk Clothing, etc.)
  • Expensive Clothing (Branded Clothes, Wedding Dresses, Designer Handbags, etc. )

Step 2: Packaging Material

Depending on your clothing type, you will need to select an appropriate packaging material. Daily wear clothes are low-priority products that can be shipped in poly mailers. While all other items need to be shipped in some type of cardboard box.

Step 3: Package Size & Weight

Once you have your clothing and packing materials selected, it’s time to optimize their package size and weight. Shipping weight and size directly impact the overall delivery costs. You should try to pack clothes in such a way that their footprint is minimized. Instead of packing beads or peanuts, you should use bubble wrap to reduce the package weight.

Shipment weight plays a more significant role in international delivery. Always weigh packages before you take them to your local mail service provider.

clothes shipping boxes

Step 4: Protective Padding (Optional)

For luxury items, you want to keep the designer-branded boxes intact. It’s best to ship those packages with some sort of padding for additional protection. You can place your designer box into a corrugated one with some packing peanuts. Or you can wrap it in some bubble wrap and place it inside a poly mailer bag.

This added protection is necessary for domestic shipping but crucial for international shipping.

Step 5: Shipping Distance

Long-distance shipping costs can range from excessive to unreasonable. It is very rare to see flat-rate shipping fees for international delivery. If you are preparing clothes for shipping to another country, keep the extra costs in mind.

Another cost element is the means of transport. Shipping by air is much more expensive than shipping by sea.

Step 6: Choosing a Reliable Shipping Company

Before you ship clothing to someone, you need to select a quality and reliable shipping company. Luckily, in this day and age, there are several reputable companies that compete on delivery speed, shipping costs, and product safety.

The following are a few popular options for both local and international shipping:

  • USPS (United States Postal Service): Take advantage of the USPS first-class mail service for a fraction of the cost. As a government-affiliated post office, USPS provides some of the lowest freight for both domestic and international deliveries. USPS is by far the cheapest way to ship clothes across the country and around the world.
  • FedEx: As a private shipping company based in Tennessee, USA, FedEx is the polar opposite of USPS. It costs more, but it also has faster shipping times. As a privately run corporation, it has local offices around the world. You can always find a FedEx office location near you.
  • China COSCO: China COSCO offers world-class mail services across the world. It is one of the biggest shipping companies operating in Asia. Their global shipping routes allow them to deliver packages across the globe in a timely manner.
  • DHL: For EU residents, you have the option of going with an international company like DHL to handle all your clothes for shipping.

Step 7: Shipping Label

As a final sanity check, ensure that your package has the proper shipping label and commercial invoice attached. Poorly worded shipping information can result in confusion for delivery companies and international customs.

4 Simple Tips for Cost-Effective Packaging & Shipping

Shipping rates are one of the most difficult things to manage. Even veterans of the clothing business struggle to find the cheapest way to ship clothes.

Here are a few tips to help you reduce shipping costs.

1. Shipping Items Together

Small processing fees are added to individual packages. To avoid such fees, try to combine your shipments into a single box. Ship multiple shirts and jeans together to reduce costs.

2. Using the Smallest Package Size

It would be best if you found the right-sized box for your clothing. Smaller boxes take less space on a freight ship and thus have lower shipping rates.

3. Neatly Folding the Clothes

Neatly folding clothes is the cheapest way to reduce costs. The decrease in volume helps keep the box size small.

Shipping by Freight

4. Reduce Package Weight

Always choose the right packing materials for your clothes. A sturdy box will cost more at the initial purchase and will cost extra when shipping due to its higher weight. The weight of your packing material is directly related to the shipping rate.

Why Choose Packoi for Clothing Packaging Materials?

Packoi is the one-stop shop for all your custom packaging and printing solutions. We offer several box and bag designs, along with a wide range of material choices. Our goal is to help you get the best-looking packaging solutions that portray your products in the best light.

Good packaging is key to a successful business. Make your business a success by choosing Packoi. Contact us now!

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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