Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WotW: Some snail-mail help

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Happy Wednesday! I am Lu, here again to torment inform you about all things web. (Questions and suggestions welcome!)

Yesterday, I went to the post office. (Big news, eh?) The post office is about the least web-related place I know of, so why in the world am I talking about the post office today?

I love getting mail, but thank to email, my mailbox is very sad. Or would be, if it weren't for free samples. :)

Because you can't send cookies virtually. At least not the kind of cookies that I like.

As much as I love free, quick and nigh-instant communication like email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and all that -- you can't tweet cookies. Or anything else material. Some times you just have to send a package. Or a nice greeting card. Something with a personal touch. Especially with the holidays coming up, a personal touch is extra nice and appreciated.

Even when you're sending something via low-tech snail mail, the interwebs can help. They're amazing like that. You can...

Calculate postage
Using the handy postage calculators, you can see how much it'll cost and how quickly your package (or letter) will ship: the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS, and Fedex all offer this wonderful service online so you can avoid postal service sticker shock.

All you'll need is the destination, package dimensions, and an approximate weight. If you're like me and you're terrible at the weight game, you can buy a postal grade scale (or, if you're really like me... borrow your mother's postal grade scale). Average price on Amazon is around $25, but you can find them for $15 or less if you're willing to look around a bit.

Armed with a scale-correct weight, you can even print your own mailing labels and skip the post office or store altogether by scheduling a package pickup. (You will have to create a user account, but those are always free.) This is especially crucial in those days leading up to Christmas when everyone and their dog is at the post office, and some are even trying to mail their dogs.

Request *free* boxes
I love the USPS new priority mail flat rate boxes because if it fits, it ships. (See, they've even got a great tagline.) They won't work for odd-sized parcels, but as long as you're sending standard-sized stuff (say that 10 times fast), you can pack those boxes with as much as you want and pay the same flat rate. I have visions of sending Debra bricks, just because I can send a package that heavy for the same price as I can send a package containing, say, fabric. I'm pretty sure she'd prefer the fabric, but the bricks are more fun for me. :)

And, add to the love because you can have the boxes (both flat rate and other) shipped to you for FREE. That's right, free boxes. See on this page, how every item you can add to you cart says No Charge? Yup, free. Pack everything at home. Print your mailing label and save a bit by buying online instead of at the post office. Schedule a pickup. Done.

And just to save you some virtual footwork, here are the dimensions and costs, as listed on USPS.com, of sending the different sized flat rate packages shown here domestically (from US to US).
  • Flat rate envelope (12.5" x 9.5") -- $4.90
  • Small flat rate box (5-3/8” x 8-5/8” x 1-5/8”) -- $4.95
  • Medium flat rate box (11" X 8.5" X 5.5" or 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" x 13-5/8") -- $10.70
  • Large flat rate box (12” x 12” x 5 1/2”) -- $14.50
Some sizes will ship cheaper to APO/FPO addresses, and you'll also save 5% by purchasing and printing your shipping label online. If you're not mailing domestic or APO/FPO. you can also use the flat-rate packages to ship internationally, for a different flat rate and with different weight requirements. Just click on the size of box that you want to send and all of the information is included there.

Happy shipping! And, no, I'm not a USPS spokesperson, just a fan of their flat rate boxes. :)


Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

4 comments:

Megan Harmeyer said...

Those flat-rate boxes!! Those have saved my butt more than once. :) Oh, and I always use USPS.com to check postage - it drives my co-workers crazy because I'd rather use their information than the scale here at work.

Cranberry Morning said...

Yeah, I use those flat rate boxes too. It's amazing how much stuff you can fit into a medium mailer!

elizabeth @ twelvecrafts said...

Free!?! I had no idea. The USPS is way more helpful than I thought. I'm going to have to start using all those tips. Uhm . . . I can't wait to receive my box of dreams-come-true!!!!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I wish we had those boxes over here, so I could send non-virtual cookies across the Atlantic! :)

 
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