This might come as a surprise to some yet there is a healthy difference between shipping and moving boxes. While seemingly they both serve the same purpose, the dissimilarities between the two would become evident if you decide to ship a moving box via mail or courier. This might lead to damaged or lost content, insurance claims, trips to the local UPS shop, phone call etc. If this sounds like a hassle to you, I suggest you keep reading.
Rather often, what is used for moving boxes would be an old used cardboard box with quite some mileage behind it already. Moving boxes tend to be manually packed and gently handled even by more “determined” moving companies. In addition, they do not travel very far, much less change transport en route. Normally, they would be nicely packed in someone’s trunk and or truck body and unloaded at a destination which is often close to the source of the travel. While there are exceptions, this is frequently the case. For the most part, the business requirements for a moving box a fairly low.
By contrast to the above, shipping boxes serve a whole different purpose altogether. They are handled in a different manner and the demand for safety, strength and edge crush test are a lot higher. A former courier employee once shared that large or small shipping boxes should be able to survive a three-and-a-half-foot free fall without damaging their contents. He was speaking from hands-on experience. Everyone should take his word and take product packaging very seriously by following these simple guidelines:
-estimate shipping weight and bulk size in advance. Then buy the box accordingly.
-yes, buy a new box when shipping. Used boxes are not a good idea regardless of their appearance.
-use proper packaging materials for the weight, fragility, shelf life etc. of the items shipped
-wrap individual items separately
-seal the box properly by using packaging tape and not masking or duct etc. tape
-make the shipping label clear and remove all other labels
-keep a copy of the to and from address inside the box in case it gets damaged
-purchase shipping insurance as needed
Following the above guidelines is not an A-Z index of safe shipping practices. It will help shipments and reduce frustration on both source and destination side. The expanded list of best shipping instructions can be found at the large shipping boxes portal.
References: Shipping Boxes or Moving Boxes – How to Differentiate Large Cardboard Boxes By William Post available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.