So you want to ship an article of clothing.
Whether you’re an established ecommerce retailer, a thrifty reseller, or someone looking to send their well-loved clothes off to a new home, it can be difficult to determine what size packaging best suits your needs.
Why Does Poly Mailer Size Matter?
When it comes to poly mailers, size absolutely matters. You could be in possession of the world’s most reliable shipping bag, yet if it runs too small for the item you’re shipping, it’s rendered useless.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, is there such a thing as a poly mailer that is too large?
The answer is yes. Use a shipping mailer that is too big and you will run the risk of having an underfilled mailer bag, one with ample room even after being filled and sealed. This increases the chances of your package getting caught on something while being handled by USPS and/or other mail carriers during the shipping process.
You could be shipping across the country or to the other side of the world—it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. That is to say, taking the necessary precautions to ensure that your package is best equipped to arrive safely is important regardless of where it’s going.
What does that mean for you? Finding the best poly mailer size for your clothes.
Standard Poly Mailer Sizes for Clothing
Poly mailer bags come in a range of sizes that you can choose from.
Being presented with too many options at once can be overwhelming, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find the seven sizes that are the industry standard where clothing is concerned and to itemize their general capacity estimates for your convenience.
We will be examining the sizes from smallest (6” x 9”) to largest (19” x 24”). Feel free to start in the middle (10” x 13”) and work your way up or down based on how the item(s) you’re shipping compare to our descriptions.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our smallest contender.
1. 6” x 9” (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
If you’re not packing much, 6” x 9” mailers are your best friend. They’re perfect for a pair of socks or underwear.
2. 7.5” x 10.5” (19.05 x 26.67 cm)
Think the same as before, but with 7.5” x 10.5” bags you can double the quantity. What’s better than one pair of socks? Two pairs of socks!
3. 9” x 12” (22.86 x 30.48 cm)
Now we’re talking. With 9” x 12” you can start to fit larger items—one to two thin shirts, light undergarments, pajama shorts, or a mini skirt. If you intend to ship children’s clothing you’ll have more room to work with.
4. 10” x 13” (25.4 x 33.02 cm)
This is a great size if you’re looking for versatility as it works with blouses, dress shirts, shorts, skirts, and more. Depending on the thickness(es) of their fabric and how you choose to fold them, up to five large shirts could comfortably fit in a 10” x 13” mailer. Keep in mind that objects with a higher surface area will necessitate smaller quantities (e.i. one dress shirt vs. two skirts).
5. 12” x 15.5” (30.48 x 39.37 cm)
You can rely on 12” x 15.5” shipping bags for your thicker and/or longer clothes. Think along the lines of a sweater, a pair of jeans, a dress, or a hoodie (for all sizes up to and including large).
6. 14.5” x 19” (36.83 x 48.26 cm)
It’s hard to go wrong with a 14.5” x 19”. Almost all types of clothing—shirts, dresses, pants, coats, vests, etc.—are able to be shipped with these. They’re the best poly mailer size for XL and XXL hoodies which can’t be squeezed into a 12” x 15.5” mailer and have no trouble fitting here.
7. 19” x 24” (48.26 x 60.96 cm)
What do two medium hoodies, 12 to 14 large T-shirts, and two to three dresses have in common? They can be shipped in a 19” x 24” poly mailer. Yes, we’re aware that’s not the only answer.
Sass aside, what if 19” x 24” isn’t enough? Should you need to ship a large puffer jacket or blanket or something equally massive, you might require a 24” x 24”. We may or may not have left it out for alliteration purposes (seven standard sizes for shipping bags would not have the same ring if there were eight, sorry not sorry).
Now that that’s been said, congratulations! You have reached the end of the listicle portion. You’re a trooper, truly.
Choosing Your Poly Mailer Size
You’ve made it past our rough estimations as to what size poly mailer best fits what clothes. If you still feel unprepared in your decision making, here are a few tips to help you find a size that fits just right for you.
1. Measure Your Item(s)
Though our general estimates—fits five shirts, three pairs of socks, one cap, etc.—may prove useful, that’s all they are. Estimates. The most foolproof way to settle what size mailer you need is with a trusty, time-tested technique: measuring.
This may seem like a no-brainer. Since size is the determining factor when picking out a mailer, what better way to cover your bases than by measuring the dimensions of what you plan on shipping.
Start by folding your article (or articles) of clothing and arranging them how they will be when shipped.
Then use a ruler or measuring tape to find the length, width, and depth of your item(s) in inches. Make note of these dimensions to be used in the upcoming formulas.
To find the minimum width required of your mailer, add an inch to the sum of your item’s width and depth. As for the minimum length, take the sum of your item’s length and depth and add two inches. This should prevent your bag from being too small.
Here are the formulas written out:
Minimum Width = Item Width + Item Depth + 1”
Minimum Length = Item Length + Item Depth + 2”
Suppose you wanted to ship two large hoodies with a length of 14 inches, width of 12 inches, and depth of 6 inches (when folded and stacked). The minimum width your mailer would need would be 12 + 6 + 1, or 19 inches, and you would require a minimum length of 14 + 6 + 2, or 22 inches. Thus the closest standard size bag suitable for your two hoodies would be 19” x 24”.
Don’t be cowed! The math is simple, and so is the measuring.
2. Consider Your Fabric(s)
It should go without saying that different fabrics have different thicknesses which impact the final state of your package. A long-sleeved cotton T-shirt, though the same shape as a knitted wool jumper, only takes up half the space if not less. The same goes for jeans vs. leggings, sheer stockings vs. fleece stockings, and the list goes on.
The material(s) you’re working with should always be taken into account when viewing general estimates.
3. Unsure? Size Up!
If you are stuck between two sizes, the safer option tends to be the bigger one. After all, a shipping bag that’s too small is just a bag.
A slightly oversized mailer is easily accommodated with a little tape and creative folding. Worst case scenario: your receiver might be a bit put off by your packaging. At the end of the day, what matters most is that they received your package intact.
Buying Poly Mailers
It’s safe to say that you know more about poly mailer sizing than you ever wanted to know—you’re welcome, by the way.
Now comes the fun part: buying the right size and anticipating the arrival of your mailers so you can finally get those clothes out the door.
Since we’ve already established that you come to the Internet for help, you might as well check out our list of the best poly mailers that money can buy. In it we’ll unpack options for anything you can think of including budget, branding, designs, environmental impact, etc. If the latter is important to you, you might be interested in our 100% recycled SMART mailers.
Until next time, shop smart and ship smart.