I mean, if you think about it, there were probably less than ten different types of packaging supplies around a hundred years ago. The first that comes to mind is straw. And wood. And nails. None of them are items that would ring any kind of bell for us in this same category in the modern day and age.
This kind of makes me think about sawdust. Have any of you ever read the Little House on the Prairie books? (If you are wondering how I can go from sawdust to Laura Ingalls Wilder… I'm getting to that). If you have, you will remember a certain scene about blocks of ice. If you haven't, then you will remember the scene I am about to tell you if you ever decide to. But the scene unfolds like this: Pa and however many other men are cutting the ice off of the top of the lake, and then sawing them down to big blocks. They would have already built a little ice shed beforehand, and sprinkled a thick layer of sawdust on the floor, which would act as insulation.
Then they took the freshly cut blocks of ice and started stacking them in the shed, making sure that plenty of sawdust was in between each block, so that at no time was any piece of ice touching another piece of ice in any way. Thus, the ice would last until the next winter. All's I can think of is lake-flavored ice… Blech. And that makes me thank God that I live in a country where clean drinking water is so completely available. But I should probably get back to talking about packaging supplies. Even though sawdust was technically along the same lines, clean drinking water is one hundred percent a digression, and I will admit to that whole-heartedly.
As I was researching packaging supplies, I started coming across some different types that were really blowing my mind. For instance, we assume that packaging supplies are boxes and tape and stuff like that and we forget that they are everything in-between, like coffee bags, and Ziploc bags and every type of thing that contains every other type of thing. But then my research took it one step further: lip balm tubes. And it's like, duh! Empty lip balm tubes are packaging for the lip balm. As an FYI, you can actually order empty lib balm tubes, for those of you that keep a goat in that small grassy patch between your garage and the neighbor's garage, daydreamin about how you are going to make so much money on all of your goat milk products, including lip balm. Blech again.
What about industrial? The world of industrial packaging supplies is far more intense than the average, every-day one. There are entire machines that rotate enormous boxes around, wrapping them with stretch wrap bigger than a small child. Carton and box staplers that require a strong man to use both hands. An entire machine called a "carton sealer" which is really just this glorified contraption that closes a box with tape. Bulk supplies in such quantities that we would never go through them in our home, but that get used in an industrial setting on a regular basis. It's just crazy.
Here are some suggestions for packaging supplies that you might not consider necessary, but that you will discover can make your life so much easier once you incorporate them. A box cutter! It's not the same as using a pair of scissors. When it comes to cutting cardboard, scissors just don't cut it (I couldn't help the pun; I apologize). A stamp that reads "fragile", or stickers that say the same thing. When you take your package to be delivered and tell them it is fragile, more than likely the clerk will stamp the thing one single time with a light-colored stamp that is no bigger than your thumb. This simply will not do! Take care of it yourself before you even leave the house.
Probably my all time favorite type of packaging supplies are air pillows. First of all, the name is cool. Air pillows. I mean, it literally sounds like you are sleeping in the clouds. Of course, that's not at all what it means, but still. Second, air pillows are super light because, surprise surprise, they are made up of air and thin sheets of plastic! Third, they make for amazing prank material. If you smash an air pillow between your hands you wind up with a terrific pop that will make anyone in the near vicinity jump out of their seats. Good times.
And since I'm on the topic of pranks, I have to close with this last, absolutely hilarious story. My aunt and uncle used to have these plastic mats that they used to cover the more heavily trafficked areas of the carpet (mainly the strip between the sliding doors and the dining room). Every single family function, my brother would take the mat and flip it over. On the other side were little spikes that dug into the carpet and kept it from sliding all over the place. They were also incredibly painful to step on. It was the most rewarding thing in the entire world to sit on the couch and watch people walk across the aisle of spikes. I can't even describe it with words. They would step and then grimace and then hop, and if you were really lucky they would sit down and remove their socks and inspect their offended members, all to the sound of my brother's uproarious laughter. Everyone were really good sports about it, though, and one year my aunt actually rolled up one of those mats, wrapped it, and gave it to my brother for a Christmas present. That was a good time.