We’ve become so accustomed to convenience in our modern world that it’s hard to fathom living without our universal household items. They save us endless hours of extra labor and effort in our daily lives. But these necessities don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Even more rarely do we think about how these items are packaged. There’s a lot of thought that goes into designing these systems to make them accessible, efficient, and maximally protected for widespread distribution and use.
In this article, we examine the best types of packaging to use for household items, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of different materials in common applications. This will help your business choose the best packaging system for your product without trial and error — getting the results you want more quickly and affordably.
What Are Examples of Household Items?
Everything that gives us comfort and ease in the home can be considered a household item. These are the essential items that make up your checklist when moving into a new space and setting yourself up for basic needs like cooking, cleaning, hygiene, and more.
The kitchen is where we find most household essentials including cookware, tableware, cutlery, food storage, and various tools to prepare food at home. So, too, are microfiber towels, double-ply or ultra strong paper plates, dishwasher detergent, and hand soap.
Many of these cleaning supplies cross over into the laundry room or supply closet, where many families keep all-purpose cleaners or specific products for different surface types. An assortment of cleaning products range from dish soaps, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bleach, and laundry detergents to useful items like drawstring trash bags, facial tissue, sponges, and heavy duty scrubbers for the clean up of everyday messes.
Cleaning glass, wood, and tile requires unique formulations to get the job done quickly and thoroughly, as well as the right cloth or scrubber type to reduce damage.
Then there’s the bathroom, containing its own set of personal hygiene products with everything from tooth and mouthcare to skincare, haircare, cosmetics, lotion, and more. Many of these items are reusable, refillable, or disposable — think razors, toothbrushes, shower caps, and air fresheners.
Some families keep a separate set of cleaning supplies in the bathroom to address the unique needs of the space, such as the toilet, sink, and shower. Toilet bowl cleaners and dedicated sponge brushes (plus a plunger) and a dustpan are kept within reach for easy cleaning and maintenance.
These specific environments need mini furnishings like garbage tins, racks, paper towel holders, and trays to keep things organized and accessible. These are typically one-time buys, but important nonetheless.
Finally, consider general-use products that must always be stocked, including disinfectant wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, kleenexes, plastic baggies, foils, cling wraps, and other necessities. Such items will vary from one household to the next, depending on how much they need and their preferences with respect to materials or ingredients.
Americans spend thousands of dollars on household items yearly, so this is no small market. Brands must compete in a fierce landscape to set themselves apart and deliver winning products that meet standards of function, consistency, and cost.
What Should You Consider When Packaging Household Items?
With so much variation in the household item category, there are many factors to consider when choosing a packaging system. Packaging isn’t an afterthought — it’s a key component of your product’s ability to sell in a crowded marketplace and earn lifelong customers.
Here are your top considerations when packaging household items across all subcategories, giving your product the best chance to stand out and succeed.
Design & Usability
Customers won’t think twice about passing over a product with poor design, especially in a saturated space like household goods.
The shape of the package itself is a huge part of the appeal of liquid products or items that don’t otherwise inspire much excitement. The most successful designs balance originality, design, and user experience, the last of which matters most for customer retention.
Customers only care so much about how their cleaning supplies or paper towels look on display. What’s most important is how these products perform and their ability to complete household tasks daily.
A custom-made package is key to sparking customer interest and also maximize efficiency from a materials and cost standpoint. Packages must have the correct dimensions, capacity, colors, and other design elements to give them a distinctive look and feel.
Labeling is another make-or-break aspect of packaging household goods. Customers are eager to discover more about products at a quick glance. Labels must look professional and also meet the regulations that dictate on-label information for every major industry.
Regulatory articles and health claims are complex for products like soaps, detergents, and cosmetics, so these obligations must be addressed in full on labels to avoid lawsuits and fines. A custom package is key, no matter what product you bring to market.
Shipping and Handling
Supply chains may be more efficient now than in the past, but it could still be weeks or months before household items end up in the hands of consumers.
A package must be resilient, with strong barrier protections that prohibit the saturation of oxygen, vapor, or other potential problem-causing conditions. This is crucial for sensitive and delicate products, as spoilage and waste can lead to an effect on profit and on consumer happiness.
Shipping costs are also at all-time highs, meaning that lightweight and transportable materials are the preferred way to go. It’s an ongoing quest to determine the lightest yet strongest materials to ship and store household items, while maximizing profit margins at scale.
Standard cardboard and hard packaging aren’t obsolete, but more customers now opt for soft, flexible packages. These packages can save space, are easier to transport, and offer a more modern look and feel in the eyes of today’s shoppers.
Brands don’t need to compromise protection or product stability when using flexible packaging, either. The leading packaging systems are stronger than ever, with high barrier properties and all the quality-of-life upgrades you’d expect from modern packages.
Keeping kids away from household items is a top priority for parents and caregivers. This is another area where brands can differentiate themselves through special packaging. When given the option to buy household goods in child-resistant bags, parents typicallywill always take that choice.
Child-resistant bags with unique open-and-close mechanisms can be a great way to help keep kids out of household products. Dymapak offers innovative and appealing child-resistant packaging in custom sizes to fit a variety of needs.
As customers become more attuned to issues like climate change and pollution, sustainable packaging should be a goal for brands everywhere. Consumers across many demographics are willing to pay more for recyclable packaging. It’s worth the investment to tap into these markets.
Brands should also expect to meet certain regulations as lawmakers look to crack down on packaging materials, so the time to make the sustainable commitment is now.
Satisfied customers will buy again and again. Repeat customers are a core business model for household item makers. Cleaners, detergents, and personal care items are all about getting the job done and staying within budget.
After all, most of these household items are not visible within their packaging, so the customer experience is where the real decisions are made. Since happy customers are more likely to recommend items to friends and family, this creates a positive cycle of references and retention to help keep your business growing.
The Bottom Line
Household items are an evergreen market with lots of competition, forcing producers to choose packaging that gives their brand the edge. With all these factors in mind, your business can package products correctly by turning to an eco-friendly, child-resistant option — and earn customers for life.