Sending care packages can be a daunting task. From which box to use to filling out the custom forms, there is a lot to do!
I've compiled (with the help of other military spouses) a list of the Top 10 Care Package Tips! Learn from our mistakes and use these tips when sending your next care package!
Tip #1: Know when to stop sending care packages
Did you know, there is actually a date of when you should STOP sending care packages? Yup! Your service will know this date and it will be all dependent on where they are at, the type of deployment, branch of service they are in, as well as some other factors.
In my past experiences, it's been a month or two before Homecoming. Be sure to check in with your service member as you head towards the end of your deployment.
What happens if you send a care package AFTER the cut-off date? You risk the chance of it getting lost and your service member never seeing it. My Father-in-law sent a package after the deadline and we have yet to see that care package :(
Tip #2: Ask your service member what they NEED
All deployments are different. Sometimes your service member will be on a base and have access to everything they need. Other times, they could be in a remote location and getting basic items like toiletries will be very difficult. Or maybe your service member is really focused on improving their health and fitness during the deployment.
Asking them what they really want or need will not only help you but help them as well.
Tip #3: Include some healthy snack items
I know I am SO tempted to send a box full of cookies and junk food but try not to do that! Ha! Try to include some healthy items like trail mix or protein bars so your service member has something healthy to grab mid day or in the middle of the night.
Tip #4: Do NOT send banned items
When sending a care package be sure to know what items are banned and DO NOT SEND THEM! It not only puts you at risk but your service member as well.
When researching what items are banned be sure to look at USPS (or whatever company you are using to ship your care package), the country it is being sent to (ie: some meats are banned in certain countries), as well as banned items for the military.
Tip #5: Check out dollar stores for inexpensive options
Dollar stores are a great resource when sending care packages. You can find a wide variety of items to send that won't break the bank.
I love using the dollar stores to grab some seasonal and holiday items to send.
Tip #6: Use Ziploc bags for liquid items
Soggy care packages are the worst! Be sure to put any items that might melt or leak into ziplock bags. This will protect the rest of the items that you are sending too.
Tip #7: Re-use packing materials from your Amazon orders
Amazon (and other retailers) do a great job of packing up orders. They use a wide variety of products to fill the box and protect your items from being damaged in transit.
Don't throw those packing materials away! Save the packing paper, bubble wrap and other items to fill in the gaps in your care packages.
Bonus Tip: Having a full (but not over stuffed) box is best. When there is a lot of extra room in a box, it allows everything to move around during transit which can cause things to be smashed or broken. Use the packing material to fill in the open spaces to avoid this.
Tip #8: Make sure you have the correct address
This might be a no brainer but it is SO important! Double-no triple check the address before mailing off your care package.
Tip #9: You can do everything on the USPS website
Did you know that you can skip the line at the post office and mail your care package from home? Yup! You can do everything from the USPS website including paying for the postage and filling out the customs forms. You can even order free boxes and schedule a pick up! So easy!
Tip #10: Be sure to use LOTS of tape
This one might be another no brainer but be sure to really tape up your box. Your care package has a long way to travel and the more tape you use, the stronger the box will be and more of a chance of it arriving in tact.
Want all of these tips in one place?
Grab my Top 10 Care Package Tips freebie! This is a great cheat sheet to have handy when you put together your own care packages.
Want an easy way to decorate your care packages?
Be sure to check out my shop. You'll find hundreds of designs to choose from as well as greeting cards, shipping labels, and more!