Living over 3,000 miles from home while I attend college means
I’ve had to become well acquainted with the cross-country shipping options. One
of the most useful, and simplest, is the USPS flat-rate box.

There are two clever facets to the design: the business
model design, and the actual package.

The business model is what initially caught my eye. Knowing
I can send (or have sent) a book or forgotten item between my house and my dorm
for a concrete price, rather than wondering or estimating the cost, makes it
easy to decide if the shipment is worthwhile. The different sizes simply
allow for more flexibility. Moreover, because it’s a flat rate rather than a
weight-based rate, I’ll often throw in a few extra items that would be nice to
ship but were not initially necessary. This added use gets me in the habit of shipping
things back and forth and makes it more likely I’ll consider using one of these
boxes in the future, since I’m now accustomed to depending on them.

The box, of course, is also nicely functionally designed. Its
assembly is made easy due to creases in the cardboard and removable adhesive
strips already adhered to the flaps, and the clear labels make it obvious which
size box you’re constructing. The cardboard is sturdy, and the plentiful
white space leaves room for labels or other organizing features one might place
on the box. It’s strong enough such that I’ve never sent nor received a box
that was crushed in the mail.

Overall, I find USPS flat-rate boxes an extremely useful way
to easily ship things across the country, since the flat rate makes cost-analysis
decisions simple and the physical box is easily assembled and shipped.