Shipping Your Belongings in Canada for a Move

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Tips for Shipping Your Belongings for a Move

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Sometimes you need to move your belongings, but not yourself. Nothing makes you take stock of your personal belongings quite like moving, and you may find that you want to ship some of your things to friends or family after you move. But shipping items is not the same as simply mailing a letter. Here are some things to remember when shipping your belongings for a move:

What you can't ship

There are quite a few things that you are not allowed to mail in Canada. Canada Post has an extensive list of non-mailable items that either can't ever be mailed or have to be prepared and agreed upon with the necessary authorities in very specific ways. You can check out the full list of Canada Post's non-mailable matter, but here is a quick list of types of things that can't be mailed:
  • Illegal objects (i.e. things that are fraudulent, controlled/outlawed, or obscene)
  • Anything that violates an Act Of Parliament by being mailed
  • Anything improperly packaged or of unmailalbe size and/or shape
  • Anything that could hurt someone handling the mail
  • Anything that could damage postal equipment
  • Anything that could grab, cover, or stick to other items
  • Adult material that is not covered and labelled as such
  • Anything that emits a foul smell
Some things things can only be shipped under heavy restrictions. If you want to ship these items, you're going to have to contact Canada Post and get their permission and/or follow very specific packing and labelling instructions. It may be best to avoid shipping these items if you can help it:
  • firearms
  • explosives
  • knives
  • compressed gases
  • gold
  • extremely valuable items
  • drugs
  • animals
  • perishable food
  • plants
  • tobacco
  • alcohol
If you must mail any of these items, read the restrictions on the Canada Post website and then contact them in order to get clearance.

Packing your belongings for shipping

Once you've made sure that you aren't shipping any illegal items, you have to pack your belongings safely. This is very similar to how you would pack for a move. Your belongings need to be secure and able to withstand a bit of jostling during the shipping process. Fragile items should be labelled as such. 

Remember that you pay for heavier or bulkier shipments so try to make your packaging as light and compact as possible. Canada Post will not mail items that are too big or bulky.

Most items will require the same packing materials that you used during your move. Cardboard boxes are sufficiently sturdy for most objects, but you may need reinforced containers for heavier objects. One big difference with shipping your belongings as opposed to moving them, is that everything needs to be contained in something and labelled with an address and postage. That means you need more sturdy containers for heavy objects that would remain uncovered in moving trucks during a move.

Remember to use cushioning materials like bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or packing paper to cushion all of your items for shipment. Seal everything with tape once things are snugly in their packaging. A quick shake of the box will let you know if the item is moving too much inside its box. 

Keep in mind that mail carriers may be a bit more rough than movers with your objects. They get paid by the government while you are likely paying the movers. People always work for where the money is coming from, so mail workers don't have the incentive, or insurance policy, to keep your objects safe that movers typically do.

After everything is packed and ready for shipping, review the necessary labelling and postage requirements for particular items. Canada Post may require special postage or labelling if you are shipping something fragile, exceedingly large, or something that falls on its list of restricted items. Be sure you are well aware of all the labelling and packaging requirements before you go to the post office to avoid an embarrassing waste of time when they tell you that they can't ship your item as is.

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on July 9, 2014 - Moving Expert
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