How to Ship Oversized, Oddly Shaped Items

Delivery man brings a package to a customer's door and waits for a signature.

Transporting a large or unusually shaped item can be a daunting task. Many people simply give up and hang on to an heirloom armoire or antique dollhouse rather than risk damaging it by shipping it across the country. It is, however, possible to ship just about anything safely.

Pak Mail, a packing and shipping company with locations throughout the United States, specializes in custom packing and shipping. It has successfully shipped a life raft to Saudi Arabia, a motorized hang glider, a stained glass window, an x-ray machine and a Mercedes Benz roof, among thousands of other unusual items. The company offers the following tips to people with large or unwieldy items to ship:

* Wrap it. Protect items from scratching or breaking by wrapping them in bubble wrap, tissue or plastic. If you’re using one box to ship several items, wrap each item individually. If you’re shipping artwork, use non-acidic paper.

* Pack it. To help absorb shock and vibration during shipping, use foam or rubber as a second layer of packaging. Make sure that items are secure. Most damage occurs when items shake or move in their packaging.

* Make it secure. Choose a hard, puncture-resistant surface, like plywood, for the outer layer of your package.

* Hire a professional. For especially cumbersome items, consider hiring a shipping company that specializes in custom packing and large items. For example, Pak Mail builds custom crates, so it can ship anything from dinosaur bones to grandfather clocks. The company will pick up the item at your house, pack it safely and ship it. The company does not have size, weight or piece limits.

* Get a guarantee. Insure your items when you ship them. Make sure that you have each item’s tracking numbers so you can watch their progress.

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