Saturday, 8 July 2017

USPS Hold Mail

How to Hold Mail While On Vacation (USPS Delivery Options and Advice)
Every time I am about to take an extended trip, I stop to consider what to do about our mail while away from home. With email and paperless (electronic) billing so common, I certainly receive less snail mail of a critical basis than in years past. However with charity requests, catalogs, sale circulars, and other bulk (junk) mail received almost daily, my mailbox tended to fill up in a matter of days. So do I...

Put the mail on hold at the US Post Office (local branch)
Let it pile up in the (never quite large enough) mailbox
Ask a family member or trusted neighbor to pick it up regularly​


Why I've Put My Mail on Vacation Hold


usps delivery hours


As someone who prefers not to inconvenience others, in the past I have usually put our mail on hold with the post office. It seemed like the most secure and convenient option and costs nothing. Unfortunately my success rate while living in at several addresses in Pennsylvania (house and townhouse) and California (apartment and condo) has been mixed. Therefore I have gone back and forth among these three options to ensure that our mail does not overflow the box. The last thing I want to return home from vacation to is missing or lost mail.

I take lots of vacations and for the majority of situations, holding my mail worked. Twice my mail was never held as requested, but somehow it all fit (was shoved) in our mailbox while on a 10-day trip. Once our accumulated mail was not delivered to our home as of the return date (the date I picked for the mail service to resume). Therefore I had to make a special trip to the post office during business hours which was not fun.


Hold Mail Step by Step Guide
Since the online option is the fastest, most convenient, and perhaps most reliable way to put your mail on hold, I'll take you through the quick and easy steps.

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Step 1 - Visit the Official U.S. Post Office Website

No you are not looking at the USPS website now, but thanks for visiting my VacationCounts blog and supporting my effort to help people take the best time off work and life. Here is the link to the USPS Hold Mail page which opens in a new browser window.  You'll be following the step-by-step instructions which I'll help you with, so keep both browser tabs open so you can refer back.


Step 2 - Name and Address Entry Check

You will need to accurately enter your home mailing address so the postal database can look you up and verify that it can put in a request to your local post office to hold your mail. Enter your name and official home address in the "What's your address" box. Your phone number and email address are also required fields and of course your zip code is critical.


Step 3 - Hold Dates and Delivery Options
After you pass the address check, the fields in the "When will we hold your mail?" will become enabled. Here is where you will enter the start date and the end date for your when you'll be away from home. Remember that you can only hold mail for a minimum of 3 days to a maximum of 30 days.


Step 4 - Submit Hold Mail Request - You're Done!
Before you click the "Submit" button double check to make sure your entries are correct. You wouldn't want your mail held for the wrong dates or enter the wrong apartment number by mistake for example. There is an "Additional ​Instructions" button if you have anything to add, but I honestly have no idea what this field is meant to handle. When you are ready and have read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom, click the submit button and await the success response.


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After your mail hold request is processed electronically, you'll receive a confirmation email and also a letter in the mail detailing your hold request. I think the letter is meant as a security precaution in case someone else tries to put your mail on hold on purpose or by mistake. If you see any mistakes after the fact, you can either cancel a mail hold or use the phone or in-person options to talk to a real person who can make it right.

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