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Pointers for postal package preparation

Good box, strong tape, clear address will help gifts arrive safely


The U.S. Postal Service has been busy making sure every sleigh is ready to go this holiday season. Postal workers are ready to deliver special gifts, and the postal service has some tips on how to box a package to help ensure the holidays come off without a snag.

First, select a sturdy box that is strong enough to protect the contents. If you are reusing a box, totally remove or obliterate all previous labels and markings with a heavy black marker. The post office provides free Priority Mail boxes in a variety of sizes.

Make sure heavy items are in a sturdy box with heavy packing tape, and that no contents are shifting. Place cushioning all around your item until you cannot hear it move inside when you shake it.

Use newspaper to stuff glass and fragile, hollow items such as vases to avoid damage. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box. Keep new batteries in the original packaging.

In addition to packaging the items correctly, labeling is important when shipping a package. Make sure to use the proper address. Don’t guess. For correct spelling of city names and state abbreviations, or to find a zip code, go to www.usps.com.

Make sure addresses are clearly printed and that all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (ex: 123 S. Main St. Apt. 2B), are included and clear. Include both “to” and “from” information on packages, and only on one side.

Place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return address. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned should the mailing label become damaged or fall off.

Mark packages “Fragile” if the contents are breakable, and mark packages with food items as “Perishable.”

Finally, don’t use twine around your box. Use high quality 2-inch packaging tape.

You can pay for and print your postage at home using Click N Ship at usps.com, or you can stop by the post office.

The postal service has created a video on package preparation. To watch it, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4xGpzn2s5k.


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