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Removing Packaging when Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

So...have you ever wondered how to get more items in your Operation Christmas Child shoebox?   I think many of us have more things we'd like to send then we can fit.  Well, one good first step is to remove extra packaging.  I mentioned this in a post last year, and gave one example.  But thought I'd share some more info, ideas, etc.

This came to mind recently when I came across this "Lego" type kit on clearance-the box was WAY to big to fit in any shoebox I'd use to send, but I shook it and it felt small inside so I got it-turns out I was right, I slide the instructions and pieces into a small zippered bag and it took up ver little room in the Go Box, you can see it overwhelmed it before.  I may cut the image off the box and tape it in the lid or line the bottom so they can see what it's supposed to be, but as it has instructions I'm not too worried.  Alternatives to a zippered plastic bag would be to buy small purse, pencil case, etc. or you could sew a small drawstring bag or crochet a small drawstring bag as well.

Thanks to Debora Clark photo from processing center

That's obviously one big item, but here's an example of how much room a few smaller items left in packaging can take up.  This is a box that came through the Dallas Processing Center.  Looks like a cute box-toys, hygiene & candy items that we can see, plus lined with tissue paper-supper cute & thoughtful idea.  It even looks pretty full...but if you took those candy canes out of their box and double bagged them, took the doll off the blister pack back, you could fit in even more (& sending more is always one of my goals!! :) ) This also is a good illustration as it shows one thing I might not take out of packaging-toothbrush.  There's no hard and fast rule on this, but personally I wouldn't take it out of packaging unless I had a cap or case to put it in, or maybe if it was a multipack I might put it in a ZipLock type bag, but I don't think I'd send it lose.

Removing packaging is something that I hesitated about doing for some time as I was concerned about it looking new, but I've learned as long as it looks new it's not necessary, and I can fit so much more in, plus they often don't have a good way to throw away trash in other countries.

A few questions I consider when removing packaging:

  1. Does it need the packaging (or replacement packaging like a zipper sealed bag, or sewn bag) to keep it in good condition?  Like the toothbrush I mentioned above, or some doll's hair may get rumbled if not tied back
  2. Does it need the packaging (or replacement packaging) to keep the other shoebox items safe?  For instance scissors that might open and cut something or toothpaste that might squeeze out.  Or soap, always needs bagged.
  3. Does it need the packaging (or replacement packaging) to keep it together, small pieces from being lost (Lego kits, etc.)
  4. Does it need the packaging to identify it? Maybe soap or something like that.
  5. Does it need the packaging, or at least part of it to explain it.  For instance some games, puzzles, etc.  Most Lego type kits should come with instructions, but some times the packaging can show something else to build with the same pieces.  If it needs only part of the packaging, you can cut it off and send just the needed part, or like I've done with puzzles before, keep the box but tuck other items in.

Unless the answer to one of those questions is yes, and there's not a better replacement packaging, I'd like to encourage you to consider removing it.  I'd like to close with this video I found to be a good illustration of this principle.

You may want to check out our posts in the series:  Making More Fit in Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.  And if are wondering what type of shoebox you can use?  Check out our post:  What Type of Box to Use for Operation Christmas Child.


Linda K said...

My family pack a lot of shoe boxes every November & we spend a lot of time & thought in getting as much into a box as possible.
My son is a Lego guy & he searches for Legos at reduced prices all year long. Each shoe box Lego set is repackaged into 1 or 2 small plastic baggies. Next the baggies & instruction booklet are put into a small metal tin or plastic container with lid.
Permanent containers keep all pieces together after the child removes them from the baggies. And baggies can be reused by Mom or Dad. The family might live in extreme poverty, have dirt floors and/or have no storage containers at all. A couple of baggies could be a little added blessing to someone who has very little.
We find small metal tins at resale stores for 25 cents. Squares & rectangles fit nicely inside a shoe box.
Also, my son creates his own Lego sets for the OCC kids, from misc pieces in his collection. He takes pictures as he assembles a Lego kit for a shoe box, & then prints out an Instruction Sheet. On top of the tin (or bottom, if the tin has a cute picture on top, we tape a pic of the Lego set. This takes time but it's worth it.

Sarah said...

I was a Lego kid myself....and still have a number of mine on display. Your kits in tins sounds like a great idea!!! I'll keep that in mind! And I love your son designing kits with instructions-impressive!

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