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If you have an account with the U.S. Post Office, UPS, Fedex, or many other popular shipping companies, you can use the shipper's Web site to print bar-coded shipping labels on your own computer, saving you time and trouble at the shipping counter. You can buy special label stock for printing, or simply print the label on regular paper. Tape paper labels down well with clear tape, to prevent moisture from obscuring your information. For extra protection, include a copy of the label inside the package.
If you're hand-writing a label, use a large, dark marker, and write in large, clear letters.
Use caution in listing the specific contents of boxes. Most shipping company employees are honest, but if your package says "Joe, here's the digital camera I bought you" it may provide too much temptation.