How to Ship A Care Package + Inspiration To Get You Going
When you and your significant other (or any loved one, for that matter) are too far to drop-by, a care package is a lovely idea. They can really be touching for the receiver, since the contents are thoughtful and methodically sent just for them.
It’s that time for me again. M is gone and even though it seems like just when I get used to it, he comes back, he’s getting a nice little pack of goodies in the mail. A few tricks I have learned along the way are listed below, along with an inspiration list to get you started.
Whether you are sending a box to a college student, a deployed service member, or your favorite great uncle, a few items need to be addressed across the board.
What Every Care Package Should Include
If possible, include a medley of different types of items in the care package. Think of it more like a gift basket that you are mailing, so that you remain thoughtful. You want to try for: sentimental, salty, sweet, savory, useful, and humorous all in one. This little list usually helps me create well-rounded care packages that provide a little bit of everything my recipient could be missing, wherever they are. You want to show that you love and care for them, and support the mission they are on (whether that is college, or some other adventure) through your assortment.
I tend to buy a lot of products for my care packages, but sometimes I’ll add a little something homemade. You can decorate a picture frame, or send them a scrapbook, or even a well packaged meal/snack with a recipe you know they will love.
When I can’t think of anything to send or am feeling less inspired I will sometimes search Pinterest to see if anything sparks. One deployment I stuck to a colors theme. Each month, everything in the box was the same color (Example: the “blue without you” box had exclusively blue items in it) and I actually found that to be fun. It usually did take a few trips to the store, but for the most part I would grab one or two things as I was out, which makes it easier on the wallet.
Care package themes and inspiration to get you started:
○ A favorite memory you two shared or “your song” together
○ Match up with the season or a wacky holiday
○ Junk food only/healthy snacks and inspiration only
○ Dorm/first apartment supplies
○ Hot stuff (spicy snacks)
○ Stress relief kit
○ Multiple “open when” letters
○ Movie box (DVD’s, popcorn, and maybe some cozy socks)
○ Favorites (items they might have trouble getting where they are)
○ Coffee or tea set
○ Encouragement (inspirational quotes, planner/calendar, podcasts)
○ Beauty box (make-up samples, face mask, coffee scrub)
○ Superheroes or favorite characters
○ School spirit (stuffed mascot, school colors, and supplies for classes)
Packaging Your Care Package
Before you start, consider how your care package is going to get to the person you are sending it to. You don’t want them to open a pack of crumbled up cookies, do you? Think about HOW you are sending your gift early on so that you know what sort of packaging you will need. Some items will make it with just newspaper wrapped around them, but for others, you may need packing peanuts. If you’re sending their favorite types of chips try and find a pack in a tube instead of a bag. If you plan this part out, you can be more careful with things you are buying.
Go with flat rate shipping boxes when you can. UPS often passes out coupons (which usually have no expiration dates) so stock up on those, too. Once in a blue moon, this way is less expensive. Those of you sending a care package to deployed soldiers can click here to order a Military Care Kit via USPS. This will also give you the exact formatting for addressing the parcel to the APO/FPO/DPO address to your service member.
Amazon has a great value for high school/college care packages, but they are usually exculsuively food items. Often times, care packages for students would go further if they included other things like toiletries, stationary, school paraphernalia, etc.
Remember to be very careful with what you put in your care package, and if you need to, get the insurance. Expensive items (and truly sentimental gifts) can get lost or broken far too easily, and it’s not worth it. There is also a list of things that cannot be mailed, depending on who you are delivering through, so be sure to check with the carrier you are using.
Think about where the things in your care package will go, too. Anyone who is deployed may be moving a lot, you don’t want to send them anything that they cannot transport. If it’s a family member in a new apartment, though, go ahead and send them that new toilet brush and waste can set!