Post office preparing for the holiday rush

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Friday, November 6, 2009
— Only 49 days left until Christmas.

Even if you have filled your gift list, you still need to get your greeting cards and packages mailed on time so they reach their destinations by Christmas.

To make sure that happens, we asked Janesville Postmaster Jon Buchholz for some information and tips.

Here’s what he had to say:

Mailing deadlines

-- Dec. 4—For military mail being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

-- Dec. 11—Any military mail being sent to other international destinations.

“These are just suggestions,” Buchholz said. “I wouldn’t wait that long if that was me. The sooner the better to avoid the final rush.”

Mailing options

-- Parcel post—This mail, hauled by truck, takes seven to 10 days for delivery and up to two weeks or more during the holiday season when volume picks up.

-- Priority mail—This mail, which moves on airplanes, usually takes two to three days to be delivered and sometimes a bit longer during the holidays.

-- Express mail—This mail, which moves on airplanes, is guaranteed to be delivered in one to two days, but it’s more expensive than parcel and priority.


-- Select a box strong enough to protect its contents.

-- Express and priority mail boxes, envelopes and tubes can be obtained for free at your post office or can be ordered online at usps.com.

-- Stay within size limitations. Priority and express mail can’t be bigger than 108 inches total—length and girth. Parcel post packages can’t measure more than 130 inches total. The maximum weight for both packages is 70 pounds.

-- Completely remove markings on previously used boxes, so no questions remain about items in the box.

-- Leave room for cushioning contents—shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn also can be used plus is inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.

-- Stuff glass and fragile hollow items with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage. If you mail framed photographs, remove the glass from the frame and wrap separately.

-- Use tape designed for shipping such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.

-- Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape or cellophane tape that can ruin the package and damage postal equipment.

-- Enclose an index card or piece of paper that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of contents. That helps ensure the package gets to its destination or back to the sender.

-- Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound to your post office for mailing. Do not put into your residential mailbox for your mail carrier.

-- Remove batteries; wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

Package labeling

-- Print complete addresses clearly and be sure to include street names with north or south if necessary, apartment or suite numbers and the correct ZIP codes.

“Never guess a ZIP code. No ZIP code is better than a wrong ZIP code,” Buchholz said.

-- Include both “to” and “from” information on packages on only side of the package with no extra writing.

Greeting cards

-- Rather than make a special trip to the post office or collection box, those who receive door or curbside delivery may leave mail in their receptacle for letter-carrier pickup.

More tips
Visit www.usps.com.

Last updated: 12:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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