Close
We still have select slots available for pickup! Contact us to secure your spot on the schedule. Call Now

The Cheapest Way to Ship Anything

The Cheapest Way to
Ship Clothes

Calculating shipping costs and choosing the most economical shipping method can be confusing. Our Cheapest Way to Ship Anything guides make it easy to compare shipping costs and choose the right method for your cargo, whether you're shipping common items like boxes or difficult-to-transport goods like antiques or artwork.

Jump to:

1. How Much Does it Cost to Ship Clothes?

We've calculated shipping costs for three common shipping methods: USPS, parcel shipping, and consolidated freight.

i. USPS shipping costs

ii. Parcel shipping costs (eg. UPS or FedEx)

iii. Consolidated freight

2. Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about shipping clothes.


Clothes are one of the easiest items to ship—in fact, shipping clothing is so simple that it’s easy to inadvertently pay more than you need to if you’ve never done it before and don’t know the best way to ship these items.

People ship clothes for a number of reasons:

  • You’re moving and need to ship an entire wardrobe’s worth (or several wardrobes’ worth) of clothing to your new home, or perhaps to college. In this case, you’ll typically be working with larger quantities of clothing packed into large boxes or multiple smaller boxes.
  • Retailers shipping clothing to buyers across the country, typically single items or smaller shipments packed into envelopes or small boxes.
  • Retailers shipping large quantities of clothing to distribution centers or other locations in their network. 

Clothing is easy to ship, but there are some considerations to keep in mind when preparing your shipment to ensure it arrives safely and on time without incurring additional fees:

  • How many items you’re shipping: The number of items you’re shipping will impact how they are packed, as well as your shipping costs. If you’re shipping a single shirt or a small article of clothing, padded mailers or envelopes are sufficient. If you’re shipping larger quantities of clothing, you may need to ship a large box or multiple smaller boxes.
  • What you’re shipping: Simple items like your day-to-day wardrobe can be packed into boxes or envelopes, but unusual or elaborate clothing items like wedding dresses and other items with delicate embellishments should always be shipped in boxes. You may want to pack hanging items or high-end clothing into a wardrobe box, but be aware that wardrobe boxes will be considered an oversized package by parcel shippers like UPS or FedEx and can be very expensive to ship using these methods. If you’re shipping a wardrobe box, consolidated freight is one of the cheapest ways to ship clothes.
  • Packing method: Since most clothing doesn’t have sharp edges and isn’t fragile, you typically don’t have to worry about breakage in transit. However, clothing can still get wet, so it’s recommended that you seal clothing items in plastic bags to prevent unwanted moisture damage. Otherwise, choose a correctly sized box or envelope so you don’t risk packing it too full and having it burst at the seams in transit.
  • Packing materials: Boxes are ideal for shipments of large quantities going to the same destination, plain Tyvek envelopes are ideal for single, small pieces, and bubble mailers are best for items with delicate components like buttons. Whatever material you use, always use lots of high-quality packing tape and avoid using excess cushioning to keep your shipping costs as low as possible.
  • Package weight: Some articles of clothing are heavier than others (jeans, for example), and your boxes may get heavier than you anticipated, so stick with smaller boxes where possible to avoid exceeding weight limits or incurring unexpectedly high shipping costs. For heavy packages, flat rate shipping is one of the cheapest ways to ship clothes because the weight of your package won’t factor into your shipping costs (as long as it’s under your shipping provider’s flat rate weight limit).
  • Unboxing experience: Unboxing is an especially important consideration for businesses shipping clothing to customers—a tidy and attractive presentation can go a long way to creating loyal customers. Always neatly fold items and pack them into plastic bags before sliding them into your packing material to keep them clean and create a more pleasant experience.
  • Delicate items: Wedding dresses, leather, fur, silk, cashmere, chiffon, and lace are best shipped folded into boxes or hung in a wardrobe box. These items also require extra care when packing—ensure they are properly sealed so that moths and other insects can’t infiltrate and feast on your delicate items. A sachet of cedar may also help deter insects, as well as stale odors.

How much does it cost to ship clothes?

The cheapest way to ship clothes depends on how many items you have to ship, as well as the speed and distance of travel. For single items, USPS is the cheapest option. Flat rate shipping is the most cost-effective for small boxes or packages, but if you’re shipping wardrobe boxes, an entire wardrobe as part of a household move, or are shipping large boxes of clothing to other locations in your network, consolidated freight is often the cheapest way to ship boxes of clothes.

Compare the cost to ship clothes using some of the most common methods:

  • USPS
  • Parcel shipping (such as FedEx or UPS)
  • Consolidated freight

At TSI, we see two common box sizes and weights for shipments of clothes:

  1. A medium-sized box (18” x 18” x 18”) weighing approximately 35 lbs
  2. A large box (24” x 18” x 18”) weighing approximately 50 lbs

The shipping cost estimates for variable pricing provided below will be based on these common sizes and weights.

USPS

The United States Postal Service offers a number of options for mailing or shipping clothing, including:

  • First Class Mail for packages up to 13 ounces
  • Priority Mail flat rate shipping
  • Variable pricing for time sensitive shipments

If you’re mailing a single item of clothing that weighs 13 ounces or less, First Class Mail will be your cheapest option, with prices starting at $3.80.

For packages over 13 ounces, Priority Mail flat rate shipping is the cheapest way to ship boxes of clothes. Priority Mail flat rate shipments will be delivered in 1-3 business days, and you must use USPS packaging to qualify. The cost of your shipment depends on the size of your box—package weight does not factor into your shipping costs (as long as you don’t exceed the maximum limit of 70 lbs), nor does distance or speed of travel.

Three box sizes are available:

Box size Flat rate price
Small $8.30
Medium $15.05
Large $21.10

USPS also offers variable pricing for shipping clothing. These rates depend on the size and weight of the shipment, as well as distance travelled, and are typically higher than Priority Mail flat rate shipping. Multiple speeds are available, including overnight shipping, making variable pricing a good option for time-sensitive shipments or overnight deliveries.

Box size and weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego
18" x 18" x 16"
35 lbs
$55.30-$206.45 $91.05-$229.55 $55.30-$206.45 $91.05-$229.55
24” x 18” x 18”
50 lbs
$74.20-$287.20 $110.75-$321.35 $74.20-$287.20 $110.75-$321.35

Parcel shipping (UPS or FedEx)

Most major parcel shippers, including UPS or FedEx, offer both flat rate and variable pricing options. Both shipping methods can be used to ship boxes of clothes.

Whether you use flat rate or variable pricing will depend on how many boxes of clothes you’re shipping and how fast you need them to arrive. Flat rate shipping is typically much cheaper, but with less flexible delivery timelines. This is because there are no surcharges for residential deliveries, and your package weight doesn’t matter as long as you are under the shipper’s stated weight limit. If you need overnight or fast delivery, variable pricing will be your best option.

UPS and FedEx both offer flat rate shipping. Here’s how they compare:

UPS Simple Rate

  • Pricing depends on package size and speed travel—distance of travel does not factor into shipping costs
  • Use your own packaging
  • Package sizes are based on volume, not dimensions
  • Maximum weight of 50 lbs per box
  • Three speeds available: UPS Ground, UPS 3 Day Select, and UPS 2nd Day Air

 

FedEx One Rate

  • Pricing depends on package size, as well as speed and distance of travel
  • Must use FedEx packaging, but packaging is free and can be ordered online
  • Four sizes to choose from: small, medium, large, and extra large
  • Maximum weight of 50 lbs per box
  • Six speeds available: FedEx Express Saver, FedEx 2Day, FedEx 2Day A.M., FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx First Overnight
  • Flat rate pricing also available for LTL shipments up to 1,200 lbs
Box size UPS* FedEx*
Extra Small $9.25-$21.25 Not available
Small $11.50-$24.50 $9.50-$136.55
Medium $15.50-$33.50 $12.35-$148.95
Large $21.00-$50.00 $19.05-$165.10
Extra large $25.00-$61.50 $30.85-$212.95

Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.

Variable pricing is also available, with shipping costs depending on the size and weight of the boxes, as well as speed and distance of travel. Additional surcharges may apply for residential deliveries.

Box size and weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego
18" x 18" x 16"
35 lbs
UPS:
$88.10-$300.08

FedEx: $49.48-$334.77
UPS:
$85.89-$344.21

FedEx:
$86.07-$369.18
UPS:
$84.37-$296.35

FedEx: $49.48-$334.77
UPS:
$85.89-$344.21

FedEx: $86.07-$369.18
24” x 18” x 18”
50 lbs
UPS:
$117.30-$377.33

FedEx: $64.73-$445.05
UPS:
$108.90-$451.27

FedEx:
$110.93-$516.62
UPS:
$113.57-$373.60

FedEx: $64.73-$445.05
UPS:
$108.90-$451.27

FedEx: $110.93-$516.62

Consolidated freight (TSI)

Variable and flat rate pricing are also available from consolidated freight shippers like TSI.

With our easy flat rate box-and-ship service, you simply tell us how many boxes you need (up to a maximum of 15) and we’ll send them to your door to pack. We’ll return when you’re ready for us to pick them up and ship them anywhere in the continental United States for a flat rate per box regardless of how far your boxes will travel. Flat rate boxes measure 18” x 14” x 12” and must weigh less than 40 lbs when packed.

The cost of transporting your boxes using TSI’s flat rate shipping depends on on how many boxes you have to send. Prices start at $570 for 5 boxes, up to a maximum of 15 boxes.

Variable pricing is also available for shipments of more than 15 boxes that qualify for less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. The cost of shipping boxes of clothes through LTL depends on the weight of what’s being shipped and the distance of travel—box size does not factor into your shipping costs.

With LTL shipping, you won’t pay per box—the cost of your shipment will depend on the total combined weight of your boxes. LTL shipments are priced at a minimum weight of 120 lbs. Here’s how much you can expect to pay for 3 large boxes weighing 50 lbs each, for a combined total of 150 lbs.

Box size and weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego
18" x 18" x 16"
50 lbs each (150 lbs total)
$435 ($145 per box) $445 ($149 per box) $356 ($119 per box) $445 ($149 per box)

Learn more about LTL freight.

COVID-19 Precautions

TSI is carefully monitoring all of our shipments nationwide. We have seen minimal delays thus far, and are in constant contact with transportation industry leaders in order to be as proactive as possible. All members of the logistics chain are using the safety precautieons recommended by the C.D.C.:

  • Clean your hands often (washing for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surface

NOTE: Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to ship clothes?

The best way to ship clothes depends on what and how much you’re shipping, as well as how fast you need it to arrive.

  • The best way to pack and ship single clothing items that don’t contain fragile components is in plastic mailers or envelopes.
  • If you’re shipping a small quantity of small or medium-sized boxes, flat rate shipping from the USPS or parcel shipping services like UPS or FedEx is often the cheapest way to ship boxes of clothes, as long as your shipment does not exceed the maximum weight limit.
  • If you’re shipping your entire wardrobe as part of a household move, not including wardrobe boxes, flat rate shipping by a consolidated freight provider like TSI is your best bet.
  • If you’re shipping a wardrobe box, consolidated freight variable pricing is your best choice.
  • If you’re a business shipping large quantities of clothing to retail stores or other locations in your network, consolidated freight is likely your cheapest option.
  • If you need fast or overnight delivery, USPS, UPS, or FedEx variable pricing is the best choice—these services offer a number of shipping speeds, including overnight delivery.

How much does it cost to ship boxes of clothes?

The cost of shipping boxes of clothes will depend on whether you choose flat rate or variable pricing, the size and weight of the package, how far it will travel, and how quickly you need it to arrive.

Here’s a rough idea of how much you can expect a box of clothes to cost to ship using some of the most popular shipping methods in 2020:

USPS

  • Flat rate: $8.30-$21.10
  • Variable pricing: Approximately $55.30-$321.35 per box depending on weight, distance, and speed of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances or lighter boxes.

Parcel shipping (eg. UPS or FedEx)

  • Flat rate: $9.25-$212.95 depending on size and speed of travel
  • Variable pricing: $88.10-$110.93 per box for 3-day shipping, depending on weight and distance of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances or lighter boxes.

Consolidated freight (eg. TSI)

  • Flat rate: Starting at $570 for up to 5 large boxes
  • Variable pricing: $356-$445 for up to 3 boxes weighing 50 lbs each ($119-$149 per box). Shipping costs may be lower for lighter weights or shorter distances.

What is the cheapest way to ship boxes of clothes?

The cheapest way to ship boxes of clothes is typically flat rate shipping. USPS, parcel shippers, and consolidated freight shippers like TSI all offer flat rate shipping for lower rates than variable pricing.

For wardrobe boxes or larger shipments of multiple large or heavy boxes, consolidated freight is the most cost effective option. Flat rate and variable pricing are both available depending on the number of boxes and the weight of your shipment.

How should I package clothes for shipping?

The right way to package clothes for shipping depends on what you’re shipping.

If you’re shipping clothing items to customers, single items can be packed into plastic envelopes, while shipments containing multiple items are best packed into boxes. Start by folding the clothing neatly and tucking it into a plastic bag to protect it from moisture before packing it into your shipping materials. Layer tissue paper between each item for better protection and to prevent creases.

If you’re shipping clothes to a new home, you’ll want to pack your clothing into boxes. It can be tempting to use large boxes, but you may be surprised at how fast your clothes become too heavy to ship. Instead, use small or medium sized boxes to ensure your boxes don’t exceed weight limits and incur additional charges. Line each box with packing paper to protect your clothing from general wear and tear, and cover the top with packing paper to prevent dust and dirt from sneaking inside.

Whatever you do, do not use vacuum bags—they could unseal or tear during shipping, causing your boxes or packaging to split open.

Regardless of your reason for shipping clothing, make sure everything is clean and dry before packing it up. Dirty or damp clothing can cause mildew to form, as well as unwanted stains or odors, especially if your clothing will be travelling long distances.

What’s the cheapest way to ship clothes to college?

The cheapest way to ship clothes to college depends on how many clothes you’re shipping. If you’re shipping lots of clothing, flat rate shipping will likely be your cheapest option because it does not factor box weight into your shipping costs (as long as you’re under the weight limit for your chosen shipping provider). Many flat rate shipping services, including TSI’s, also don’t factor in how far your boxes will travel.

Can I ship clothes in a suitcase?

No, shipping clothing in a suitcase is not recommended. Suitcases cannot be shipped through standard courier networks because the handles and wheels can cause difficulties in transit, and overfilled cases can split open or sustain damage in transit. Shipping labels also don’t affix well to suitcases, increasing your chances of losing your shipment.

However, packed suitcases that are placed in boxes can be shipped using courier networks.

Shipping clothes to another state?

Learn more about TSI's long distance moving and shipping services.

Learn more

Keep reading

What's the Best Way to Pack Clothes?

Get our best tips for packing clothes, from decluttering to sealing boxes.

Read More ›

Bedroom Packing Guide

Packing up your closet can feel daunting, and it’s easy to put it off till the end of your packing process.

Read More ›

How to Properly Pack Your Boxes

Follow these simple steps to pack your boxes for your move or shipment.

Read More ›