Care Package Essentials

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After a year of not making and sending care packages, I’m getting back into my care package mode– my youngest sister is spending a year of service abroad! Now that I’m more of a seasoned veteran, I’ll try to break down all things care packages for you this time around! (And take a minute to read about how care packages can be super easy!)

Everything you need on hand to create a care package.

Today, it’s all about the bare necessities– what you absolutely need to create an awesome care package that your recipient will LOVE!


First, you need boxes. Don’t  pay for them– there’s just no need. When John deployed, I ordered quite a few of the USPS’ military care package kit. It is free of charge and includes 2 large Flat Rate boxes, 2 medium Flat Rate boxes, mail tape, address labels, and customs forms. If you’re sending care packages to someone in uniform, call 800-610-8734 to order that kit. But you can also order other sizes of Priority boxes and envelopes for free here. (And by the way, if you’re mailing to an APO/FPO address, check the mailing guidelines and restrictions here.)


If you’ve read this far, you probably are thinking about decorating the inside of your box.  Scrapbook paper (the 12×12 variety) works really nicely–it fits perfectly inside without any cutting needed! You can also use fun wrapping paper and wrap the inside of the box. It’s also possible to use a plastic, disposable tablecloth to wrap the inside of the box. True story!

Take a stroll through Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, Target, Wal-Mart, and dollar stores for decoration inspiration. Check out the clearance walls and bins– you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find! (I’ve made use of stickers, punch-out letters, shaped Post-Its, stick-on rhinestones, ribbon (cloth and mylar), balloons… the list goes on.)



  • scissors
  • glue (contact cement works best)
  • boxing tape
  • packing materials
  • plastic bags (for liquids, gels, or anything that might break open or rupture)

Everything you need on hand to create a care package.

Get Fancy and/or Make Your Life Easier:

  • Sharpies
  • paper cutter
  • Silhouette/Cameo (I don’t have one of these, but I’ve seen care packages made with them– they’re amazing!)
  • wrapping paper
  • cardstock/ construction paper
  • double-sided tape/ tape dots

Organizational Tools

Because John had a year-long deployment, I invested in a little bit of organizational stuff to keep all of my care package gear, well, organized. I used a clear, plastic tote for my “stash” of care package items. I also bought plastic containers to keep my scrapbook paper from bending and ripping as well as a set of Sterilite drawers for all of the other miscellaneous crafting materials. It really was money well spent– after John came home, it just became my crafting supplies drawers!


And of course you’ll need things to put INTO the care package!

Everything you need on hand to create a care package.

6 Responses

  1. I’m a mom going through my first deployment. What’s the list? I have no idea ither a bunch of candy and soap. Lol. Thanks

  2. I was just curious, how much on average is the cost to send these out? My fiance was just deployed and this is the first one I’ve been through.

    1. It depends on what size box you’re sending and what you’re putting in it. I think on average, I spent between $40-60. Sometimes it was less, sometimes it was more. I tried to shop sales to bring down the costs as much as I could.

    2. If you use the large flat rate boxes from the USPS, it should only cost $16 to send them in addition to whatever you purchase to put inside of the package.

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