Friday, August 05, 2011

how to turn your house into a post office

As most of you know, I go to the post office.  Kind of a lot.  I know that you can mail things from home, but I never felt like I had all the proper supplies. 

But recently, I decided that it really would be a lot more practical if I could fulfill most of my postal needs at home.  This decision came directly on the heels of a week where I had to go to my post office two days in a row, and then travel to a post office across town because mine was out of envelopes. 

After much research, I think I have come up with the easiest, least expensive way to mail from home, and I figured that someone else out there might be interested in that as well.  So here goes: 



First you need shipping supplies.  Did you know that you can order free shipping supplies from USPS.com and they will leave them right on your doorstep?  Here is the link to their postal store where you can choose all the sizes of boxes and envelopes you want.  They come in packs of 10 or 25 and usually arrive within a couple of days. 

For mailing things non-priority, I keep two different sizes of manila envelopes on hand and save any shipping boxes that we get in the mail. 

If you purchase the flat rate boxes or envelopes from the postal service, you don't have to weigh them so you can skip this next step. 


Most of the time, I do not use flat rate boxes and need to weigh my packages.  We purchased the Ultraship U-2 from Amazon a few weeks ago.  It weighs up to 60 pounds and is small and easy to use.  As an added bonus, Steve really likes to weigh things around the house, just for fun. 

My biggest hurdle in mailing from home was finding a way to print postage without fees.  You can print postage for priority and express mail on the USPS website, but sometimes I just want to print first class postage.  Places like Stamps.com charge a fee, so your postage ends up being more expensive. 

I finally figured out that I can print postage through PayPal.  The easiest way to do this is for someone to purchase something from me- then I just click the "print shipping label" button next to their purchase and go from there.  But what about if you aren't selling anything?  I was able to find a link that lets you bypass the selling part and input your own information for a shipping label, so anyone with a PayPal account (which is free) can print the postage they need, in any amount. 

The final step is to get this package out of your house.  If the box is too large to put in the mailbox, you can schedule a free pickup for the next day!  Just go here and fill out the form and leave the package on your doorstep.  Super easy! 

Hopefully this is helpful for anyone who finds themselves at the post office fairly often.  With a bit of planning ahead, you can have everything that you need and never have to wait in that line again! 
Have a great weekend- I'll see you back here on Monday!

3 comments:

  1. oh, I think I did a happy dance the day I discovered that trick with PayPal! I can never understand why anyone would wait in the line at the post office- 'cause, you know, it's a bit mad--especially as the holidays are on us! most definitely a cause to celebrate- at least in my opinion!

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  2. This was so helpful! Thank you for sharing. I'm going to tweet about it!

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  3. I've been doing this for many months and I love it! I got a small food scale from Walmart because my packages are all small. the only thing is that you can't put tape over the bar code on the label or else their readers can't read it.

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