Sunday, November 20, 2011

On Sending Christmas Packages

It’s that time again…. time to overwhelm our Postal Service workers with cards and presents. Here are some tips to minimize the time you spend in the Post Office.

1. Prepare In Advance
Make a list of at least roughly what you’re sending this year, then go to the Post Office early in the season to pick up boxes and stamps. Even better, order supplies online and have them delivered to your doorstep! The less you can do while standing in the post office and the most you can avoid the last-minute rush, the better off you’ll be.

2. Remember to Check the List Twice
Check the post office’s list of hazardous materials they don’t send. There’s nothing that squashes the Christmas spirit more than putting someone’s safety at risk. For instance, did you know the Post Office can’t send Lithium batteries like those in cell phones? So if you’re giving one this year, talk to the store about having it shipped directly so that the store can handle it correctly.

3. Flat Rate Is Your Friend.
This is especially great for sending that heavy fruitcake and bulky sweater to grandma. Just grab a flat rate box, it’s one charge no matter what the rate. The sizes and prices are listed on the Post Office website but you might want to check your local branch to see what they have in stock if you're not ordering them online, especially the closer it is to the 24th.

^ The heavy bakeware and accessories I sent to a friend for her bridal shower fit perfectly in a medium flat rate box. The postal worker didn’t believe me when I told him it was cheaper so he weighed it; I saved $5 on just that box.

4. Don’t Bother With Packing Peanuts
There are sooo many options besides buying filler! Start stockpiling old newspapers. Grab some knock-off zip-lock bags from the dollar store, puff them up with air and use them as packing pillows. Heck, grab some dish towels or wash cloths from the dollar store instead, at least they’re functional instead of just getting thrown away. But for goodness sakes, don’t pay for packing peanuts.

5. Get Your Boxes Ready
If you use boxes you had on hand, way to re-use! Woohoo! Just make sure that all old labels and addresses are covered up. Did you know that you can have your packages picked up from home, too? An entire holiday season of shipping done entirely from home, you say? Why yes, that does sound amazing.

Happy shipping! What will you be sending this holiday season?

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