A guide to shipping things cheaply

This is a change-up from the usual guide on CD, but you go with what you know sometimes.

With more people shipping PPE and other things to friends, I compiled a guide of tips from my experiences selling on eBay, Amazon, and Bricklink to help you mail and ship things without paying through the nose. (Because trust me, it is very easy to pay through the nose!)

Hopefully this will help those of you working on good things…and if you’re just selling eBay stuff, I’ not judging either. :slight_smile:


A white paper I didn’t know I wanted.

I’m sure this post will get hidden but before it does, thanks Billfred!

One box source is not mentioned is Priority Mailing Boxes, which are different from regional and flat rate boxes, they are free, but you have to use them with priority mail. All of the priority mailing supplies are free to order on USPS.com but can take a week or two to arrive.

Other good link is the USPS cost estimator, sometimes the regional rate boxes can be cheaper than flat rate or regular Priority (not as often now unfortunately).

If you ever want to know anything about shipping USPS, there is a resource called the Postal Explorer which is the one stop destination for any official rules ect. for the USPS at pe.usps.com

Also, First Class Parcel is under 13 oz not 1lb, at least for retail customers.

You get to learn a lot when you spend years working at a Post Office(well technically not an official Post Office, but RSSBP, but we often have more volume than the actual post offices around here so.)

Also, thank you for mentioning the cost savings of Flat Rate boxes, the medium and large ones are only worth it for cross country packages that weigh 5-10 plus pounds. So many people just use flat rate boxes and end up paying 150%-300% more than the cost of regular Priority.

My favorite USPS boxes are Box 4, Box 7, and the 1096L :upside_down_face:

In the PayPal shipping center it’s still 1lb (16 oz) for First-Class package. Very nice for shipping lighter weight jackets and such.

Anybody with a PayPal account can use that as far as I’m aware.

Appears the dividing line is wether you can ship retail or commerical, so basically any online postage site such as stamps.com, eBay, or pirate ship will do commerical pricing and weight, if you use Click and Ship or a Post Office/retail location it’s 13oz…kinda silly but that’s the way the post office works.

Good stuff–I’m updating the document on the boxes. (I love how insiders all have their favorite niche insight.)

I also added the caution about the retail/commercial distinction on First Class Parcel. I’m always mailing out of Pirate Ship like I recommend in the guide (and actually have an eBay order that needs to go out), so the retail limits sometimes elude me. :slight_smile:

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The PayPal Shipping Center is notoriously hard to find. It shows up when you have someone pay you for good/services, but otherwise it hides in the dark.

The key to accessing it is this moderately inconvenient URL: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now


PayPal also doesn’t offer Priority Mail Cubic.

12 pounds, 8x5x14" box, from 29169 to 95014. PayPal: $44.73. Pirate Ship (and Cubic): $16.02.

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Works in theory. Doesn’t work the other half of the time. PP has lots of convenience URLs they make and then they break them without warning. The /shipnow URL works today but that doesn’t mean it will work in a week (and anecdotal experience says it didn’t work a month ago).

Go for it though if for some reason you actually want to use PP and it happens to work for you that day.

fair enough. I’ve been using it for some months now. Just need to make sure you’re super extra double logged in before you load up the link.

@billfred More for your whitepaper regarding shipping shirts specifically:

  • One shirt will fit in a size #0 bubble mailer and can be mailed basically anywhere in the US for $4~ (I use paypal shipnow.)
  • Basically any jacket fits in a #4 bubble mailer (though it’ll get really lumpy.) Though it’s been discussed above, PPSN will let you ship up to 1lb. Some jackets weight under 1lb. Some do if you pretend they do.
  • A tip I learned from @troy_dietz: put your shirt in a big ziploc. Ziploc too small? Put it in a ziploc from each end, and then seal the siplocs to each other. Nice waterproof layer if it’s monsoon season.

Wait - you’re writing a paper on penny pinching and you paid for a tape measure at Harbor Freight? If this were the caption contest, you’d have to give yourself a -∞.

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Free is not currently possible–the best active known offer is $0.98. Nice try. :smiley:

I don’t know if it’s possible, but here in Mexico I had use mercadolibre.com.mx (the Mexican version of eBay) I post something that I want to send like something to sell, just send the link to the one is destinated and it gives a better shipping rate than sending it through postal or parcel service

That’s sorta kinda what happens here in the States. The US Postal Service has two sets of rates, retail (buying at a Post Office or USPS.com) and commercial. Much of the guide is built around using software (Pirate Ship, if you’re following along) to access the cheaper commercial rates.

You can’t get a free tape measure every day, but you can get them with a bit of patience.

Just “borrow” the RI tapes from the field kit so someone three weeks later can gripe about out of spec tape measures.