How to Mail Cards (and more!) during Isolation
Do you want to send a card, or maybe a package, but don’t want to go to the post office during self-quarantine? Let me show you how to mail cards and more during isolation with a few tips I’ve picked up along the way!
While it may feel that the world has slowed to a crawl to many of us, so much is still happening. Birthdays and reasons to celebrate are still happening, only without being able to get together and celebrate. It may be even more important now to send that birthday card.
Rain, shine, snow, or pandemic, USPS does it’s best to deliver, and they are doing a fantastic job during this unprecedented situation.
Unfortunately, going to the post office, while it may still be open, will increase your chances of contracting or spreading the Coronavirus. As much as I LOVE sending cards and appreciate the benefit of receiving and sending cards, I don’t want ANYONE to get sick. When things return to more of a normalcy, I’ll still find it useful to be able to send things without leaving the house to save times, gas, and energy (sometimes we gotta be lazy!). Good thing you can take care of your simple mailing needs without leaving home.
The world changed so fast, but we are lucky that some non-contact shipping methods were put in place years before we ever heard the word Covid, and many are continuing to be implememented for the future.
I want to share with you some of the methods I have used to avoid going to the post office! See below:
How to Mail Cards:
I’ve been making and sending cards for a long time, so first-class stamps have been a staple in my craft room. Therefore, I don’t often have to go to a physical post-office to get supplies. Although I do enjoy going because it’s close enough for me to walk to and the USPS clerks are super friendly, not to mention I often see neighbors, I’ll have to wait until it is safe to do so.
Here’s what you can do:
Do you have a book of postage stamps? Great!
1. Slap on a stamp.
2. Put your card in the mailbox (with the red flag up if you have one). Your mailman will pick it up!
3. Sit back and relax!
If not, there are Lots of Ways to get books of stamps:
- Direct from USPS: You can order books of stamps online, and they’ll ship your order for $1.30 (or $1.80 if you buy more than $50 worth of stamps). It’ll be at your door in about a week. This is a great option, as that handling fee is what you might spend in time and gas, PLUS you get to choose from a wide variety of pretty stamps (not just what your local post office has in stock).
- On your Grocery run: Have to go out for your groceries? Might as well get everything you need for a few weeks. Many grocery stores sell books of stamps at their customer service counters. Costco and other bulk stores also sell stamps at the checkout. I tend to choose this option, especially at holiday time, for 5 books of stamps (yes, that’s 100 stamps), plus a tiny discount. They ARE forever stamps!
- Stamps.com: While this option costs $17.99/month, which is much more than any non-business sender would consider, they are offering a 4-week free trial. You can print postage stamps and shipping labels, and they send you a postal scale.
- While you ::can:: buy stamps from Amazon, I don’t recommend it, as they can easily run almost double the stamp price, even if you do get free shipping.
For most of our mailing needs, a book of postage stamps is enough. But there are two other packs of stamps you may want to know about:
- Extra ounce stamps: Is your card a bit heavy? I add a LOT of layers to my card and rarely need one, but to send an envelope that weighs more than an ounce will require an extra 15 cents of postage. Of course there are books of stamps for that.
- International postage stamps: I send the occasional RAK (random act of kindness) card to friends around the world, and all I have to do is put an international postage stamp on my envelope (currently $1.20) and put it in my mailbox to be picked up. These are also available by the book for easy mailing while in isolation.
How to Mail Packages:
If you have never bought postage online, I found it easier than I had previously thought! If you ship first-class, you will get a tracking number and, while it’s one of the cheapest options, it will still get to your destination in just a few days. Here are my top ways of accomplishing this:
Figure out how heavy your package will be.
- Do you have a postal scale? Put your item (in packaging) on the scale to measure in ounces.
- If you have ever shipped or received a similar item, the shipping label will show how heavy it was, and you can use it to estimate your postage. For reference, I often send packs of greeting cards (5+ cards) in a acetate box wrapped in tissue paper — this has always been less than 4 ounces.
- Don’t have either? Do you happen to have a kitchen scale? We had one in the back of our cabinets (such treasures!) that works perfectly for weighing packages.
The only downside to shipping packages from home is you need to have a printer with paper at home. If you have this already, great! You are all set to send packages.
This way of shipping from home is a great option, as it’s direct from USPS. It requires you to create an account (which is free), and then you can buy stamps, print shipping labels, and request package pickup (if necessary).
Do you have a PayPal account? You can print a PayPal shipping label without accepting payment! Although I clicked on what seemed like EVERY link they had, I still struggled to find it. Log into your account and click on this link: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now
I have used this link to print shipping labels for many of my non-PayPal contacts. I type in the recipients address, and then how you want to ship it (I often send padded envelopes first-class), and the weight. You’ll be able to see the estimated shipping before you confirm.
Bonus: Printing your own postage is cheaper! I heard other people say that, but thought it was because they bought in bulk, when I just send things sporadically. What used to cost me around $4.50 to send from the post office, now costs $2.84 to ship.
Are you mailing something that you sold on Etsy (or your choice handmade selling platform)? You are able to buy shipping and print out a shipping label with the address already filled in.
As I mentioned above, this option costs $17.99/month, which is much more than any non-business sender would consider. The only reason I leave it here in the list is that they offer a 4-week free trial (which might be all you need, wink wink). You can print postage stamps and shipping labels, and they send you a postal scale.
So what do you do once you print out the shipping label?
- Affix your shipping label to your package with packing tape
- Put it in your mailbox! That’s it! Your postal carrier will pick up small packages (less than a pound) without scheduling a pickup. Put up that little red flag if you have one!
- Don’t want to make your postal carrier carry your packages? I understand — they are carrying all our mail already! If you have one close enough and are able, consider walking to one of those blue mail drop boxes and dropping it in. Most pick up at least daily, are a great alternative to leaving it in your own box, plus you can get a little walk with fresh air!
Some Useful Supplies:
Boom! All while wearing pajamas!
There are lots of ways to send some of your common mail without leaving your house during isolation or quarantine. I hope these tips that have helped me can help you, and you find new way to send cards and ship small packages while maintaining social distance.
While Covid-19 is believed to act like other SARS viruses and was found to be undetectable on cardboard by 48 hours, It’s always a good idea to wash your hands often (and don’t lick the envelope). We have been self-quarantined for multiple weeks at this point and have not experienced any symptoms, so I continue to craft and send cards. If at any point I have symptoms, I won’t send anything from the house.
Looking for some special Quarantine cards to send for encouragement while we are in isolation? Click on the pictures below for the tutorials!
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