2009-11-19 / Features

Mail Holiday Packages With Care

With 16.6 billion cards, letters and packages to be delivered between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, the U.S. Postal Service has some shipping tips to help get gifts delivered promptly and safely during the holiday season.

The Postal Service is making it easier to ship packages to family and friends this season. Proper addressing and packaging will ensure every gift receives the service it deserves.

The Postal Service offers free, environmentally friendly Flat Raet Priority Mail boxes as well as regular Priority Mail and Express Mail boxes and envelopes. These supplies can be ordered at usps.com or picked up at a local post office.

The postal service also offers prepackaged shipping products, Ready Post, sold at local post offices for customers needing sturdy, secure boxes, envelopes and even greeting cards

When you mail online with Click-N-Ship, you qualify for a discount on priority mail and express mail. The more you ship, the more you save. When a package is ready to be shipped, log on to usps.com/pickup to schedule free package pickup right from your home or office. Skip the trip and do all of your shipping online.

Helpful packaging tips:

Make sure packages are able to withstand processing without the contents or packaging breaking.

Cushion items with bubble wrap, newspaper, or “foam peanuts” so they do not shift during transit.

Wrap each item separately when packing more than one item in the same box.

Remove batteries from electronic divides and wrap separately.

Close and shake the box to see fi there is enough cushioning. If items are shifting, add more cushioning.

Mark packages “fragile” in large print on the outside of the box when shipping materials that might be more likely to break.

When reusing a box, make sure previous labels and markings are covered before mailing.

Mark “perishable” on packages that contain food or other items that can spoil.

Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This ensures the safe return of an item that could not be delivered should the outside label become damaged or fall off.

Always use tape designed for sealing shipping boxes. Do not use string, cellophone and mask- ing tape to seal packages.

Packages can weigh up to 70 pounds and measure up to 130 inches in combined length and width. Make sure the width is measured around the largest point of the package.

Guidelines for addressing envelopes and packages:

Print complete address clearly

A complete address includes: the recipient’s name, post office box or street number, street name, suffix (Ave., St., etc.), directional (N, S, E, W), secondary address (apartment or suite number), city, state and 5-digit zip code, for example: 123 S. Main St., Apt. 4, Washington, D.C. 20001.

Use the proper zip code. Zip codes can be found at usps.com or by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of the envelope or package.

Always use a return address. It tells the postal service where to return mail if it cannot be delivered.

The postal service recommends the following mail-by dates to ensure your gift arrives on time:

December 4: military mail destined for Iraq or Afghanistan.

December 11: military mail for other overseas bases.

December 16: parcel post, the most economical shipping service.

December 21: first-class mail. December 21: priority mail.

December 23: express mail.

Due to security requirements, packages bearing postage stamps and that weigh more than 13 ounces must be presented to a retail associate at the post office and cannot be dropped in blue collection boxes.

Find more holiday tips and information at usps.com/communications/news room/2009/holiday/hpr.htm.

The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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