9 Things You Need to Know About How to Send Mail and Packages

There’s more to sending a letter or a package than sticking a stamp on it and hoping for the best. Read on to find our tips on how to send mail safely.

Hold up. Got to send a letter or package? 

There’s more to sending mail then sticking a stamp, and hoping for the best. 

mail package

You want your mail to be safe, secure, and arrive on time—so it is important to do things right. 

Keep reading to discover our tips on how to send mail.

1. Envelopes

Greeting cards, bills, letters, and documents can be sent in a regular white, recycled paper, or manila envelope. Such envelopes, and stationery and pre-paid First-Class postcards/envelops can be acquired at any post office. (Subject to being in stock.)

A Priority Mail or PM Express envelope can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door.

However, you can also purchase certified mail envelopes from other providers. So you don’t have to limit yourself to the Post Office, and their prices.

For more information on how to send certified mail—click the link.

2. Boxes

A larger item can and should be mailed in a box. You can get a box of your own, one from USPS, or ReadyPost, which you can buy at a post office.

If your items require extra protection it can be placed in waterproof envelopes, padded paper, or bubble-lining. (This is also applicable to envelopes.)

Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material. Paperboard or corrugated fiberboard is best for weights, no more than 10 lbs. If you are reusing a box, make sure to cover all of the labels and marking with an adhesive label or black marker. 

You are not required to use specific packaging, but you must use an address label provided by a Post Office if you are sending Express Mail.

3. Cushion

Make sure to cover the entirety of your times with cushioning. Newspaper, styrofoam, bubble wrap, shredded paper—all of those work. These materials can be bought at your local Post Office, or ordered online and delivered straight to your door.

Close and shake the box to make sure you have filled it all up. If items are shifting, add more. You don’t want a heavy item moving around during shipment, as there will be the possibility of grave inescapable damage.

Place an extra address label on the box in case the outside label is damaged or falls off. A fragile item should use foamed plastic or padding for protection. 

With careful cushioning, you can prevent the hassle of damaged items. Use breathing, tape edges with reinforced tape. If your package is over 70 pounds, it cannot be mailed. 

4. Sealing

Tape all of the openings of your box, and reinforce the seams with 2-inch tape. 

Use clear or brown packaging tape, paper, or reinforced also works. 

Never use string, twine or cord—because they can get caught in procession machines, causing inconveniences for you and the receiver.

Place a little strip of clear tape over the label, in order to prevent smearing of the label.

Depending on what you are sending or who you are sending your package to, you might be required to follow a sealing-protocol for maximum efficiency and identity. Most often, this will be the H-strip, where you seal the box on the front in the shape of the letter H. Hence the name.

5. Address for Success

Addressing properly is paramount to the success of your mailing procedures. Learn how to send mail with proper address input.

Recipient Address

Type or print the name of the recipient, including the organization (optional).

Print or type the address of the recipient. Use a P.O Box or street address, not both.

Always use directionally accurate addresses, such as SW for Southwest if it is part of the address—as there may be more than one Church Street.

Type or print the apartment/suite. This information helps ensure the delivery is made to the right location and can be recovered in case of recipient absence.

Depending on the type of shipment, you might need to include additional information. For example, a military address and diplomatic locale require different signature requirements, rather than a personal type of package.

Return Address

The return address allows the postal service, and the recipient know the location of where the mail originates, and where it should go if needed.

The return address is required in most cases. So for proper handling, it is best recommended to include the return address on the mailpiece of your box.

Type or print the return address in the top left corner of your package or envelope.

Print the return and deliver addresses on the same side of the envelope (if applicable).

Make sure you use a pen or marker so that it is legible at an arm’s length. No periods or commas should be used.

Priority Mail requires you to use the “from” space on the USPS—provided label or box.

6. Label

If you are not able to attend a Post Office, you can pay and print for postage labels online, using a certified mail label provider or Click-N-Ship.

Depending on the type of service you will be used for shipment, the postage label will vary, and so will the price. So take a look at the carrier service you will be using, and act accordingly. 

TIP: Get a plastic sleeve for your label, so that it can be stickied on the box, and provide ease of access to the package instructions at necessity.

7. Tracking

Are you interested in tracking your package? USPS provides tracking, which is included with all domestic priority mail items for free. 

You can choose to receive updates by text or email, making it even easier to know when changes are made to the package status.

Delivery instructions are available for incoming packages and can be manipulated to your liking, such as delayed arrival, no signature instructions, etc.

You can also arrange a free pick up for your packages, instead of going to a Post Office drop box.

However, some packages require you to pay for tracking, but this depends on the service that you choose.

8. Sending Military Mail

If you’re sending something to a military address, you have to present the full name with an initial or middle name. 

The delivery line must be pertinent to the PSC, CMR, or UNIT + number of the locale. Also, don’t forget the box number for the assignment.

Change the city name with DPO, FPO, APO, and then the state AP, AE, or AA. Include the ZIP+4 code after you’ve done the prior.

Overseas stations will require a customs form, which you will have to determine via the military guidelines.

9. ZIP, State, City

By using the right ZIP code, you help the Post Office direct your mail with accuracy and efficiency. A ZIP code is easy to look up and is a must if you want secure mailing.

Determine the correct spelling of the city, abbreviations, and terms for state and street names.

If any of this information is inaccurate, you can face long-waits for item return, and in some cases—never see it delivered. 

Additional Tips

You thought that was it? No, here are some other tips to help you out.

  1. A very valuable item can be insured for up to $5,000. You can also acquire delivery confirmation to verify package arrival.
  2. Packages can be sent using Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service-Retail, USPS Retail Ground, and Media Mail.
  3. Wondering if your items might be restricted or prohibited? Assure yourself with this checklist.
  4. Make sure that you are not paying less for postage. If a package is sent without the appropriate postage, it might be returned to your or the person will have to pay the difference for it.
  5. Have special handling requests? Go through this page, and find out the steps you will need to take.
  6. Try to adhere to hygiene protocols. Nowadays, the shipping centers are disinfected, and employees follow suit. But, it’s best to add another layer of protection. 
  7. Never hesitate to call or go to your local post office for information. The employees will always be happy to help you out and inform you of the various options provided by their carrier.

These are some of the tips that most people forget about, so you’re in luck.

How To Send Mail—Simply

Now that we’ve covered the 9 things you need to know about how to send mail safely in 2020. All of the information is up-to-date and will help you prevent any inconvenience that one might or might not experience down the road of mail shipment.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to send certified mail, check out our website and our other blogs. There’s plenty of useful information for various case scenarios

Stay safe, and good luck.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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