When it comes to getting your hands on some quality packing supplies there are a couple things that you should take into consideration. For one, they don’t have to be a name-brand, or sold by a large corporation. For example, U-Haul sells quality packing supplies, but they also cost far more than anything you are going to buy anywhere else. I mean, I was downright appalled at UHaul’s prices. Over three dollars for one, medium-sized box? Get out of town! If you were to buy a bundle of medium-sized boxes from an online store you could get about twenty-five for around thirty dollars. That’s two and a half times more than you would be getting at UHaul’s prices. Also, the well-known home improvement stores sells quality packing supplies, but they are also upcharged, and there is hardly any variety to speak of. Like three. As in, three different sizes of to choose, and three different kinds of tape to choose from.
A major component to choosing quality packing supplies is considering what you need. A lot of times people get frustrated with the materials they are using when it turns out they aren’t using the right kinds of material to begin with. They think that the material must be crappy, and don’t consider that maybe they made a poor choice (no offense). If you are moving some heavy stuff, be sure to get heavy-duty boxes. This way you save yourself the pain and heartache that comes when boxes start tearing and stuff starts breaking. If you need something to be properly cushioned, don’t just use an old hand towel wrapped around three or four different coffee mugs that you got handed down from your grandmother, use bubble wrap.
Have you ever watched a moving company? They use blankets to drape over furniture. They bring rolls of shrink wrap to wrap around awkwardly shaped items. They use inches of brown paper to protect things inside of boxes. They use heavy duty tape that doesn’t peel off in a sliver every time you try to use it. You wind up paying out the wazz for them to do all of this, which is why I recommend that you do it all yourself, but the point is that they know the “quality” in “quality shipping supplies” really lies in what the job calls for, having that on hand, and then using everything appropriately.
Some of my friends and I decided to start a little outreach when we were sophomore’s in college, and we were able to keep it running through the rest of our time at the school and even hand it down to others when it was time for us to leave. I hear that it is still running smoothly, and has even expanded to surrounding campuses. We called it “Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops”. It was a very simple idea that started with people dropping off small cardboard shipping boxes at a certain spot on campus. We advertised that we would get donations from local businesses to fill the boxes with and then send them to military personnel overseas.
Now, my brother had been in the service years before and he readily admitted that getting care packages in the mail from complete strangers was very uplifting, especially when they came with a hand-written letter. He said that one of of his friends actually got married to a girl that had sent a care package, and he wrote back to her. My brother did say that things like toiletries were a dime a dozen. Everyone was sending them. But what the troops were really after were oreos, or good coffee, or books. He said that when his squadron got care packages they would unload everything onto a table that was out in the hall.
The table was sectioned off with boxes. Boxes for candy, boxes for soap, boxes for gum. Whoever got to open the box naturally had first dibs, and he said that when he came across a box of kettle corn popcorn he snatched it up like pure gold. So when we decided to launch Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops we did go to local businesses for donations, but we went to the local coffee shop and got bags of really good coffee, and we sent a coffee maker for good measure. We went to the local eye doctors and got sunglasses. We sent homemade chocolate chip cookies by the dozens. If we were low on supplies we were always sending out those chocolate chip cookies at least. It turns out that there is nothing quite so valuable as some of those.
So if you ever get a chance to drop a box off at your local Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops site, be assured that the best is being done to send the best possible care package!
Brianna sighed and blew a stray piece of hair out of her eyes. Her forehead was damp with sweat, and the problematic strand didn’t go very far. As a matter of fact, it blew out and then swung right back and got tangled in her eyelashes. She sighed and pushed it back, pinning it into place with a clip. Gathering all of her strength, from the inside out, she picked up another stack of moving boxes. She tried not to think of the finality, of everything that came with moving. It was never just as simple as packing your stuff and moving it from one location to another. The process was stressful from start to finish. Especially when you had to do it alone. Especially when it was the end of something that you didn’t really want to end.
In Brianna’s case, it was the passing of her father. Her mother was moving down south, and the home her parents had shared for thirty plus years needed to be split up, shipped out, and sold off. Unfortunately, none of her brothers or sisters decided they had room in their garages for moving boxes full of memorabilia, and so they blew off the reality of all the work by saying, “You take it all, Brianna, whatever you want. We know Dad would want you to have it.” What this meant was that Brianna got to be the one in charge of it all. She got to go through each piece of her past, and decide which pile to put it in. Did it get donated? Did she take it? She wanted so much of it, but at what point do you just have to stop? She wanted to save so much of it for her own children, but how do you choose which things are the most important?
Her mother had run away to Florida shortly after the funeral. Exhausted and traumatized from the swift and violent sickness her late husband had succumbed to, she couldn’t even begin to fathom shutting down her old life. She needed it just to disappear. And that was what Brianna was trying to do. So, little by little, it disappeared into the moving boxes, and some would go down south, and some would go home with her, but most of it would go home with strangers. Maybe that was better. After all, it was just stuff. None of it would bring her dad back, and she wasn’t getting rid of her memories.
Is there one? …Oh, you didn’t hear my question? It was: what is the different shipping boxes and shipping cartons? Before taking on this job of writing about packaging and shipping supplies, I would have just assumed that there was none. In fact, I would have assumed that “carton” was just another word for “box”, and vice versa. Well, apparently there is a difference. I scoured the internet for information, searching websites and discussion forums (apparently this question has been asked by more than just myself, and by people who do not write about packaging and shipping supplies. That is kind of surprising if you ask me, but who am I to judge?).
I have to take a minute to relay what the average Joe was saying about how shipping cartons are or are not the same thing as shipping boxes. Many of the posts were liberally seasoned with phrases like “omg” and “haha” along with some keyboard emojies that meant to exhibit a great sense of humor, or a sense of bafflement, or even just an expression of being unamused. If you are so unamused by a question (“who cares?”), then why even bother replying to it?
Perhaps the two most popular answers were: same thing different name, and shipping cartons hold boxes/are compartmentalized. It seems that both answers are correct. Yes, you can call a box a carton, and you can call a carton a box, especially depending on which part of the world you live in (as one deeply insightful and well-travelled individual so graciously pointed out). Another part-time, unofficial anthropologist discussed the history of the orignal words. For example: carton comes from the Italian word cartone, which means “pasteboard”, and cartons just so happen to be made out of paste/cardboard. But it’s also true that sometimes a carton holds several boxes (and the example of a carton of cigarettes was used again). This small-time anthropologist went on to deduce that a “boxwood” is a type of tree, and since boxes were originally made out of wood that is how they got their name. However, nowadays, most boxes are also made from cardboard, making “shipping cartons” interchangeable with “shipping boxes”.
The whole thing apparently really baffles people, and I don’t blame them. One thing is for certain, though, and that is that customers tend to use the word “box” and people actually in the packaging and shipping industry tend to use the word “carton”, and this will be discussed further in part 2.
Welcome to part 2 of “The Difference Between Shipping Boxes and Shipping Cartons”. These articles are meant to be interchangeable, so if you missed the first part you shouldn’t have a problem hanging with us here in part two. As a matter of fact, you didn’t miss much at all. We simply deduced that the word “box” and “carton” are interchangeable because cartons are made from cardboard, and boxes used to be made from trees but now they are primarily made from cardboard as well. Also, we discussed how you could say that a carton holds smaller boxes of something (a carton of cigarettes was the most popular example).
We ended by saying that a customer would probably say “shipping boxes” whereas a producer slash mover slash individual involved in the shipping and packaging industry would probably say “shipping cartons”. Why is completely uncertain.
Keeping along the same trajectory of discussion, if you happen to go to a website that sells packaging and shipping supplies they will more than likely refer to boxes and cartons interchangeably. Their menu probably advertises “boxes and cartons” above “bags” and “cans, jars, and bottles”. Or if you select “shipping cartons” you are taken to the same page that “shipping boxes” takes you to.
While in part 1 of this topic I primarily talked about what discussion boards had to say on it, this part is more devoted to what I found on actual packaging and shipping websites. For one of the websites, they referred to their boxes when talking about packing or shipping more household type items, like food and clothes. When they started talking about shipping cartons, though, they referred to transporting freight. Which could more or less be the exact same thing said in different words, since “freight” is just referring to “a load”. Or “freight” could be seen as much heavier and bulkier items, such as a bunch of boxes put into a carton. Also, it seems that a fairly common opinion is that cartons are made of two different parts, a bottom and a lid.
Once again, at this point in history, it seems like the words “box” and “carton” are more or less used interchangeably. Whereas at one time the two probably distinguished between products, whatever developments in technology has rendered that distinction obsolete. Therefore, “shipping cartons” may have differences when compared to “shipping boxes” or, then again, they very well may not.