I love sending and receiving mail. Finding something other than bills, credit card offers and fast food delivery menus in my mailbox is pretty much the highlight of my everything. However, actually stepping foot in a post office sends chills up my spine and my blood pressure sky rockets. On the best of days it is a total shit show…on the worst? I just can’t… So, over the years I have made sure to find ways to do all of my amazing postal-ness without having to set foot in the building. And I’ve gotten pretty good if I do say so myself.
- Did you know you can order stamps online? Yep. www.usps.com is the best. For $1 shipping you can order as many stamps as you would like and they have a fabulous selection – like everything they are currently offering – far better than any walk in post office which seems to (as a general sweeping statement) only have flag stamps. And no one needs more flag stamps. Delivery usually takes about a week.
- Did you know you can print postage at home and hand your package off to your regular mailman? There are several companies out there which offer this service, but I prefer to rock the USPS website once again. They throw in free tracking for doing it online and there is another discount tucked in there somewhere – I often save between $2 and $3 per package I ship online vs. a face to face interaction. You can also request pickup, but I just hand mine over to my regular mail guy when he delivers on his usual route. If your package is under 13 ounces, you can also drop it in one of those blue boxes on the street. The USPS site is set up for shipping mainly priority and express (that’s kinda their jam), so if you need to ship first class, parcel or media mail? Head over to paypal.
- Yep. You can ship via paypal. On the left hand side of your main account screen there is “multi-order shipping.” Launch that in a new window and you have access to all of the postal speed options.
- Have a kitchen scale? That means you also have a postal scale. Weigh that package!
- Now….are you aware of flat rate boxes? These little cardboard beauties are amazing. And FREE! You can a) pick them up at your local post office or b) order them on usps.com and have them delivered to your door. Absolutely free. I have found that sooo many people are in the dark about these things. In a nutshell: if it fits, it ships. The box can weigh up to 70 pounds if being sent domestically and 20 if heading international. There are small ($5.25), medium ($11.30) and large ($15.80) – prices are commercial base because you are doing this online; a little more in person. Want to ship a ton of heavy things? Throw them in a flat rate box and forget it!
- Sending things overseas? Both usps.com and paypal automatically print the customs declarations for you.
Now. Go forth and ship all the things without the stress or inevitable press conference associated with going postal at the post office.
Happy World Post Day! Hooray! World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss capital, Berne. It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1969. So basically, it’s the official day of making mail awesome around the world! Celebrate by dropping a letter or two out to friends, or make some new ones!
I sent a letter to Canada. Where did yours go?
Remember when I talked about sending Henrietta the awesome plastic carrier pigeon out into the world? Well, she arrived safely in Forked River, New Jersey after a harrowing 3403 miles and only 4 days (well, I have no idea how eventful the trip was and Henrietta isn’t saying much)! My friend Amanda was the lucky recipient and I succeeded in scaring her into thinking there was a dead bird in her mailbox. Ha!
The old girl is looking good and will be winging her way back to me soon to start another adventure!
Total mileage flown to date: 3403
I’m super excited to get my pigeon, Henrietta, ready for her maiden mail voyage. You can get your own from the Letter Writers Alliance and drop it in a mailbox near you. I’m hoping to surprise a lot of my stateside pals with Henrietta’s visit (sorry international folks – the bird isn’t big enough for a customs form) and am excited to report back on her travels! But who will get her first??
I recently got back from a somewhat lengthy (for me) trip back to the homeland and was so excited to see all of this great mail waiting for me! I can’t wait to hunker down and start replying!
I feel like I’m about to come out of a closet. Wondering if my friends and family will still love me and think I’m the same person I was before…Here goes. I have penpals. I’ve always had penpals and I love writing (and receiving) handwritten letters. There, I said it. I own it! And I think it’s awesome.
I started writing to a girl named Carla in Albania when I was in middle school and we sent trinkets back and forth for years. I’ve written to people on cancer support lists (Olive has always been my favorite – an 87 year old cancer survivor and sassy amazing lady perfect for a teenage girl.), and have even gone to the internet to find pals (ironic, eh?). I have made some amazing friends and gotten to travel across the globe (Hi Carrie! Australia was awesome!) thanks to my ‘dorky’ hobby. I was even in a penpal’s wedding – we met for the first time when she picked me up at the airport 3 days before the Big Day! (The picture of Claire from England, her awesome sister Helen and I are still on my fridge.) I haven’t stayed in touch with everyone I ever wrote to, and you don’t always ‘click,’ but each connection is an amazing opportunity to meet someone the old fashioned way and to learn a little about them, their culture and the fun idiosyncrasies and unique way they view the world. You might even get some great recipes and book recommendations, or discover a hip new band along the way!
Interested in getting started? Check out penpalworld.com – a free site where you can make a profile and search through to find someone you might hit it off with! (Fun fact: I met both Claire and Carrie on the site within days of each other when I first moved to Alaska almost 9 years ago!) You can also check out the Letter Writers Alliance where they have all sorts of cool gadgets to mail and stickers and stamps to make your letters and envelopes stand out, and penpals for paid members (it’s $5 and totally worth it), and an up to date blog on cool mail happenings.
We are so interconnected with all of our gadgets these days that we forget how to actually interact and listen. How to ask questions and really tell someone about ourselves, and ask (and care!) about another person. So what do you say? Get out there. Make a friend. You (and your friend) will absolutely be the better for it.