The Secret to Mailing and Shipping Like a Pro

Mailing and shipping can seem simple at first but can quickly become a time-consuming process without the right planning. Make sure that you’re working smarter and not harder with these simple tips and tricks that will help make your shipping process even more efficient and cost-effective while also ensuring that your mail arrives safely.

return address labels envelope thank you round labels
Achieve a printed-on look with matte clear return address labels (Avery 18667) or add an elegant touch with custom mailing seals (Avery 5247)

How to mail letters and ship packages that look professional

Creating your own unique label design is a fantastic way to amplify your brand with a professional look. A shipping label with a custom company logo stands out and makes it easier for your customers to identify with your business.

Using label design software like Avery Design & Print is a great way to personalize your own mailing labels with easy-to-use templates and design tools. You can also save and apply your design to any product for more cohesive branding and to save time with future projects.

Another way to stand out is by choosing labels with unique features. For example, instead of using tape to seal your envelopes you could add a custom mailing seal with your initials or company logo. Or you could use matte clear labels that will blend into lighter backgrounds for a printed-on look.

Choosing premium materials as well as unique shapes and sizes are also great ways to catch people’s attention. Gold foil and glossy white labels can immediately set you apart with their reflective shine. Your custom mailing seals can also be made with oval labels, square labels and more. Browse through our collection of product and container labels for more inspiration.

shipping label receipt packaging center tape dispenser padded envelope boxes
Streamline your workflow using shipping labels with paper receipts (Avery 5127) and with internet shipping labels (Avery 5126) that are the perfect size for printing all of your tracking information

Mailing and shipping hacks to save you time

Part of planning the most efficient workflow is knowing the right shortcuts. Make sure that you’re packing and shipping as quickly as possible by taking full advantage of some of the lesser-known features that labels have to offer and by organizing the best mailing & shipping station.

Many Avery labels are designed with the Easy Peel® feature that lets you fold back the sheet to expose the edges of each label for faster peeling. This is a must-have if you’re creating your own personal assembly line and mailing in large quantities.

There might even be a label that is specifically designed for you, depending on your needs. For instance if you’re selling products online, there are shipping labels that feature paper receipts so that you can automatically print out your proof of shipping at the same time.

You can also save time with the right design. Instead of using a return address label and an address label, you could print both on a single large shipping label. Avery Design & Print makes this easy by letting you add and move text boxes anywhere you need them.

Another great tool included with Avery Design & Print is mail merge. This amazing tool lets you create multiple different labels in an instant by using a pre-populated spreadsheet. Just upload the sheet to our program and all of your names, addresses and more are added to your labels automatically.

If shipping is a core part of your job then it might be worth creating a dedicated mailing & shipping station. Whether you’re creating your own mailing space at home or in an office, our article on how to set up a streamlined mailing & shipping station provides some great tips to get started.

shipping and packaging center boxes padded mailer laptop tape dispenser labels
Choose from a variety of Avery shipping labels to easily create a professional look for your package

4 essential tools that make mailing and shipping so much easier

Apart from labels, there are four tools that you should make sure to have to easily mail and ship from your home or office.

  • Packing Tape Dispenser

    Although our labels stick and stay on their own without tape, your boxes will need durable packing tape to stay together while shipping.

  • Scale

    The weight of your package will be one of the key pieces of information every shipping service will require when ordering shipping labels online. A scale that can exactly measure to the ounce will make sure that you’re only paying for the amount that you’re shipping and not a penny more.

  • Printer

    It is crucial that you use a compatible printer with the right labels to make sure that your print stays readable through the entire shipping process. For example, using an inkjet printer with labels designed for laser printers can cause your print to smear and smudge. There are also shipping label printers that are designed especially for printing postage as well as direct thermal label printers that make it easier to print one label at a time.

  • Computer

    While you can also design and print labels with a tablet or a phone, a computer will give you access to far more features and are easier to troubleshoot when printing.

repositionable labels true block labels padded envelope box
Readjust labels without ripping envelopes with repositionable labels (Avery 55163) and reuse boxes by completely blocking out old labels with Trueblock® labels (Avery 5164)

Tips for saving money on mailing and shipping supplies

It is also important to make sure that you keep the costs of your shipping supplies under control. Choosing the right supplies and reusing old materials are great ways to keep your expenses within a budget.

If you’re looking for labels that won’t damage envelopes when being peeled off and reapplied then repositionable labels are a great option. These labels are forgiving enough to let you undo a mistake while you are applying the label but will become permanent over time to survive shipping.

Choosing the right box size and the right label size is also key. Making sure that your shipping boxes are comparable in size to the item you’re shipping will help make sure that you’re not wasting packing filler. If you’re constantly using different label sizes then you can also try cutting custom label sizes from larger 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheets.

You can also reuse old boxes and shipping supplies as well. TrueBlock labels can be applied over old labels and use a unique gray backing on the adhesive side that keeps the previous print from showing through while also making sure that your new labels stay white. Packing filler like packing peanuts, bubble wrap and packing paper can also be saved and reused as well.

However, one of the best ways to prevent wasted labels is to make a test print on regular printer paper before printing on the labels. This is highly recommended to make sure that your print will be aligned and at the correct quality before printing on your shipping labels.

You can then use labels with Sure Feed™ technology to help make sure that your printer rollers catch and feed the labels for a more accurate print. Sure Feed technology helps prevent paper jams and wasted labels by making it easier for your print to stay aligned.

How to help make sure your items arrive intact and on time

Packages will need to withstand a painstaking sorting process, travel miles across the country, get passed between multiple people and potentially even endure snow, rain and intense heat. But there are safeguards that you can take to make sure that your packages arrive in the best condition.

The first step is choosing the right box so that it not only contains the item you are shipping but also doesn’t leave too little or too much room around it. If the shipping box is too big then it can make it easier for the box to cave in during transit and can end up costing you more to line with packing filler.

Bubble mailers and poly mailer bags are also viable packaging options in many cases. For example, soft goods such as clothing can be used with a poly bag since there’s little chance of the items bending or piercing the packaging. Certain smaller items such as enamel pins and keychains are durable enough to survive being shipped in bubble mailers.

Severe climate conditions such as rain and snow can also cause certain types of labels to smudge and become unreadable. We would recommend using Waterproof labels with a laser printer to ensure that your addresses and barcodes don’t get smeared away. Waterproof labels with Ultrahold adhesive will also stick and stay even through severe weather conditions.

The label should also be placed on the largest, flattest and most visible surface to make sure that the barcode is readable. Wrapping a barcode label around a mailing tube, over a seam of a box or around the edge of a box can keep a scanner from reading the entire code.

Frequently asked questions about mailing and shipping

Q: Can shipping labels be printed on regular paper?

A: Postage can be printed on regular printer paper and taped onto shipping boxes. However, mailing and shipping labels are designed to stick and stay to a variety of shipping materials unlike basic tape and can endure tougher conditions. Older scanners may also have trouble reading barcodes through tape.

Q: Can shipping labels be printed in color?

A: Although most scanners will still be able to detect barcodes as long as the color is dark enough, it’s safer to provide the highest contrast possible with black ink on white material. However, logos and images and other designs can be in color as long as they do not overlap with addresses, barcodes and other important sections of your shipping labels.

Who sells mailing stamps?

A: USPS® and other major delivery services offer ways to order labels on their sites. However, third party options such as Stamps.com®, eBay, SendPro® and pbSmartPostage® are great resources as well.

Q: Where do mailing addresses go on the envelope?

A: Mailing and shipping labels should be placed on the largest and most visible flat surface of your envelope or package. Placing labels over seams or edges can cause the label to warp during transit and can potentially render it unreadable.

Q: Can mailing labels be printed from Excel®?

A: Mail merge is a feature included with Avery Design & Print that lets you upload an Excel spreadsheet so that your mailing labels can be automatically filled with names, addresses and more. For more information, you can take a look at our article on how to mail merge.

Q: How do I ship a package?

A: Packages can be shipped from your home or office with postage printed online. We also have an in-depth article that provides more details on how to mail a package.

Q: How do I address a letter?

A: The addresses required to send mail are a destination address and a return address. The traditional address format  for USPS shipping will have the name on the first line, the street address on the second line and then the city, state and zip code on the third line. The return address should be in a smaller font in the upper left corner and the destination address will be in the center. For more details on what information is required for a shipping label you can read our article on how shipping labels work.

Q: What is “snail mail”?

A: Snail mail refers to traditional, physical mail delivered through a postal system.

Additional mailing and shipping resources

In-depth shipping guides and articles
Our step-by-step guide on how to print labels
How-to videos for using Avery Design & Print

Products used in this article:

½” x 1-3/4″ Matte Clear Return Address Labels (18667)

1″ Diameter Mailing Seals (5247)

1″ Diameter Gold Metallic Mailing Seals (5590)

1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Glossy White Oval Labels (22804)

1-1/2″ Square Labels (22805)

5-1/16″ x 7-5/8″ Shipping Labels (5127)

5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Internet Shipping Labels (5126)

2″ x 4″ Repositionable Shipping Labels (55163)

3-1/3″ x 4″ Shipping Labels (5164)

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