Mailing can be confusing if you don’t know how best to go about the process and strenuous if you’re shipping multiple items like birthday cards.
Are you wondering how you’ll save gas, cut the line, and avoid an often problematic customer service? Don’t worry! You can mail a package from the comfort of your home in six simple steps.
How to Mail a Package
There are six steps to mailing a package:
Buying stamps is the first step in mailing a package. Stamps are sold for $1.30 on domestic orders of up to $50 and $1.80 on orders greater than $50. You can save time and money by buying stamps online.
Aesthetic or limited-edition stamps sell out fast in the post office, faster than regular stamps with the American flag. Also, you can buy all stamps online on the USPS site, including the fancy-themed ones.
The next step to mailing a package is choosing a shipping option.
Related: How to Ship a Package
Choose a Shipping Option
USPS has a host of mail services: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service-Retail, USPS Retail Ground, and Media Mail.
We suggest you mail your package using a flat rate shipping option. A flat rate means the weight of your package doesn’t matter, provided it fits inside the USPS standard box. Priority Mail offers the best value with flat rate boxes that save weighing time and money.
If you’re not using flat rate shipping, you’ll have to weigh your package yourself to know the correct postage amount. Your best bet for weighing a package is using the bathroom scale.
If your postage is incorrect, your package will be delayed or returned to the return address. To be sure, you can use the USPS online postage calculator.
If you’re using other options, check out the specifics of other USPS services. After choosing your preferred mail service, you need to get shipping supplies for moving.
Get Shipping Supplies
Using a flat rate option means you get flat rate boxes of up to 25-30 delivered right on your doorstep. Using an advanced shipping method means USPS will deliver packaging supplies, insured mail receipts, and tracking labels.
Note: Reusing shipping boxes for another shipping method is prohibited.
Cheap packing materials and free shipping supplies make mailing easier and less costly. You can also improvise on wrapping by padding your package with crumpled paper, wrapping paper, and thick clothing.
It’s best to buy wrapping paper, bubble wrap, or use plastic bags; clothes may not fit in the box, and paper may stain the item you’re packing. Ensure you secure the package with enough tape so the contents won’t spill during shipment.
Related: How to Ship a Guitar
You need to know the proper way to address an item because cargo with the wrong addresses will be delayed or returned to the sender.
Write the address on the most extensive face of the package, but not just anywhere; write it parallel to the longest edge.
Mail, packages, and envelopes are addressed in the same way and should follow the USPS approved format below:
Student’s First and Last Name
XXXXX CAMPUS BOX
1704 WEEKSVILLE ROAD
ELIZABETH CITY, NC 27909
Business’s name (if applicable)
Street address (with apartment or suite number)
City, State, and ZIP code (on the same line)*
Country* (Contact the Mail Center staff if you have any questions about the address format for packages outside the US.)
Although optional, please attach a return address to the top-left corner of the package. This way, your package will be returned to the address if, for any reason—incorrect packing, incorrect address, postage-due, or damage—it doesn’t get delivered). It’s safe to double-check.
Meanwhile, the stamp or postage goes in the top-right corner of the package.
If you’re writing the address yourself, do so with a permanent marker and legible writing. Do not use punctuation.
Pay for Postage
You’ll need to pay for posting and verify with a stamp. You can pay and print the package label online from the comfort of your home with USPS’ Click-N-Ship. When you print the shipping label, you get information on your package’s origin, weight, destination, carrier, etc.
You can also pay and print postage with your PC and printer via Stamps.com, a USPS-approved postage vendor. But this payment option favors businesses more than infrequent mailers, although the company promises customers “postage discounts you can’t get at the Post Office.”
If you want more insurance or extra features like fast delivery and tracking, you can use an advanced mailing option. Do not forget to ask for a tracking number to monitor the progress of your package. But USPS will still send you the tracking information by mail or text for free.
Note: There’s an automatic free $500 insurance when you ship with Priority Mail.
Related: How to Ship Golf Clubs
Instead of visiting the post office to drop off your mail, you can arrange for free package pickup online.
Other Mailing Options
There you go, mailing made easy!