Get more from your mail
Even in the
age of email, old-fashioned “snail mail” is still an important and well-used
service. However, traditional mail has its hassles and limitations. These
include issues like misdirected items, damaged parcels and messy mailboxes.
Thankfully, there are a few great high-tech ways you can improve your postal
experience. Here are some tips to help you better track, direct, protect and
declutter your snail mail.
See your mail online
You don’t have
to visit your mailbox to check on your snail mail anymore. Services are
available that can alert you to incoming mail or even allow you to view the
contents of letters – all from the convenience of your Internet-connected
States Postal Service (USPS) offers the free Informed
Delivery service. If you sign up, you’ll receive a daily email with a
summary of your incoming mail. This includes scanned images of the exteriors of
the pieces that will be delivered to you that day and tracking info for any
packages that are on their way to you through USPS.
notifications about inbound packages from other carriers, you’ll need to sign
up for their services, such as Delivery Manager from
FedEx and My
Choice for UPS.
services such as PostScan Mail go
even further, allowing you to redirect your mail and have its contents scanned
and uploaded for you to read from an online account.
options may be especially useful for those who travel frequently or have
Go paperless for bills and statements
Bills are no
fun no matter how they’re delivered, but receiving them by snail mail may be
the least appealing option. Hardcopy deliveries can create extra clutter and
are susceptible to being delayed, lost or stolen.
consider opting for paperless bills and statements instead. Many utilities,
subscription services and financial providers offer this option, which
typically means you’ll receive a monthly email with your bill or statement or a
notification that it is available to review on the company’s website.
If you make
the switch, be sure to keep paying your paperless bills on time.
Protect your packages with a parcel box
worried about package thieves or rain showers getting to your deliveries before
you do? If so, a parcel box may be the solution. This is a secure, weatherproof
container for receiving your incoming packages. While there are many
purpose-built options, the do-it-yourself route may be cheapest. You can simply
purchase a waterproof garden tool storage trunk, place it on your porch with an
unlocked padlock and post instructions for the delivery person to deposit your
packages and then lock them up.
Hold or redirect your mail
mail and address change services from USPS are nothing new, but they’re still
important tools for managing your mail. Both services can be conveniently
activated on the USPS website.
If you’ll be
out of town for a while and don’t want mail piling up at your address, the Hold Mail service allows you to stop
delivery of your mail for 3 to 30 days. When initiating the hold, you may
choose to have your accumulated mail delivered at the end of the hold or held
at the post office for you to pick up.
offers the option to hold deliveries, as does
FedEx. The Access
Point service from UPS and hold at
location service from FedEx also allow you to have your packages delivered
and held at local businesses for you to pick up.
moving or otherwise want your mail forwarded to another address, the Change of Address
feature from USPS allows you to redirect your mail for 15 days to one year.
While this service is a convenient catchall, it’s still best to have your inbound
mail addressed directly to its final address, so don’t forget to notify
all the relevant parties after a change of address.
may still lack the speed and convenience of high-tech communication, but with
the help of these tools, you can benefit from the best of both worlds.