The US Postal Service has been a fundamental part of our lives for decades. We have relied on this service to send and receive important documents. Several packages have been put in envelopes and sent through this service.
Online vendors have also relied on mailing services to get products from their warehouses to their customers. It is safe to say that its value is immeasurable.
Back in the day, when we considered “advanced technology” to be a steam engine, the postal service was the preferred method of communication. Even today, many people in the United States still enjoy the mailing system. Sadly, not everyone has a postal address which poses a problem.
This article explains how one can receive mail without owning an address. So, read from start to finish.
Understanding The Basics Of Postal Mail Service
USPS or the United States postal office is an independent agency of the federal government’s executive branch. The institution was established to provide postal services across the United States, insular areas, and associated states.
Their services include and cover all mailable articles like letters, flats, irregular parcels, machinable parcels, etc. these materials must be addressed to a location within the United States. There are also a series of standards to follow.
Before mailing an item, there are mailability standards that you must obey. These rules mainly impact the material you intend to mail. For example, there are
- Minimum and maximum dimensions of items
- Acceptable mailing containers
- Sealing / closure
- Utilization of various markings
- Restrictions on hazardous materials
- Restricted materials
There are many more rules you can find in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual.
USPS specifies certain vital elements when preparing the face of any mailpiece.
On the delivery address, USPS specifies that it should be left justified and located around the center of the mail piece’s largest side. To be precise, the receiving address should be placed within the optical character reader (OCR) reading area on a letter-size piece.
OCR is a space on the address side of the mailpiece defined by certain boundaries. They are as follows:
- Left – ½ inch (13mm) from the left edge of the piece
- Right – ½ inch (13mm) from the right edge of the piece.
- Top – 2- ¾ inches (70mm) from the bottom edge of the piece
- Bottom – 5/8 inches (16mm) from the bottom edge of the piece.
- The preferred placement of the return address is on the upper left portion of the mailpiece or the side carrying the postage.
The postage is to be affixed in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. If an overlapping stamp or indicia partially conceals a stamp/indicia, that mail may be considered invalid.
The mailpiece must have the intended recipient’s address for the mail to get to the correct recipient. It should be visible and legible. It must also appear on the side of the mailpiece carrying the postage. Generally, the addressee’s name should be above the address itself. Including a ZIP+4 code will help with its delivery.
The return address instructs USPS on where to send the mail if it is undeliverable. Most postal services require a return address.
All mailpieces must carry appropriate valid postage. Postage payments can be made in the form of purchasing stamps, stamped stationery, precanceled stamps, PC postage products, and Postage meter imprints.
What May Be The Reason Behind Not Having A Postal Address
Let’s face it; life sometimes can get complicated. While shopping online is rapidly becoming the new norm, it comes with its own set of challenges. For example, to receive a package, you must provide a mailing address.
Not everyone wants to disclose their mailing address, and we all have our reasons. It could be that you’re gift shopping and you aren’t keen on letting the neighbors know what you’ve ordered.
It could be that no one will be home during the day to receive the package safely. Or you stay in a walk-up apartment with no one to make deliveries on your behalf.
Maybe you’re in-between places so offering up a delivery address isn’t wise now. There are many reasons why you may choose to receive mails without giving out an address.
How Can I Receive Mail Without An Address?
There are several ways of receiving without disclosing your home address. Here are some options you should consider.
Package Receiving Service
Using a package receiving service is one of the most favorable ways to get items safely delivered to you. As we have mentioned, with this option, you do not have to disclose your home address.
Did you know that with bounce partners around the world, it is possible? Package receiving services will accept your deliveries and hold on to them until you’re ready to pick them up. Amazingly, isn’t it? So your packages are kept safe from damage and theft, and you can collect them when it is most convenient for you.
These package receiving services can be signed on your behalf to provide extra security for your shipment.
Using a package receiving service is an excellent way to get deliveries somewhere other than your home. If you want to get something delivered secretly, this is also a wise way to go about it. With such services, your surprise won’t get ruined before the big reveal.
Package receiving services give an actual street address to deliver your packages. This is helpful as it is difficult to find retailers willing to ship to your specific PO box or anything other than an actual street address.
When dealing with cross-border shipments, package receiving services offer a unique advantage. When you’re staying somewhere other than your regular location, using this service can be the best alternative.
Let’s say you’re on a business trip or vacation, and you purchase an item. Many local online vendors prefer not to ship across state or national borders. Let’s make things more interesting by saying it is a time-limited offer bound to expire soon.
That situation puts you in a tight corner; using a package acceptance service lets you eat your cake and have it. You can have the package delivered to a package acceptance service provider and let them hold onto it until you return. Or, if you have the parcel delivered in a nearby state where the local vendor wouldn’t mind delivering to and cross over to pick it up yourself.
Package Locker Systems
Package lockers are another way to go if you don’t want to offer up your home address. Some of these package lockers are entirely contact-free.
What this means is that you can arrange for your packages to be delivered inside a locker that is convenient for you. If suitable, you can then retrieve the package.
This option, however, isn’t as secure as the package receiving service option, and it has its limitations.
Sign up for a PO Box
A post office box operates as a package locker. However, PO Boxes are designed for both mails and packages. With a PO Box, the mail person drops your mail into the box and locks it afterward. You have a key to the box so you can let yourself in once you’re ready to pick up your package. PO Boxes aren’t used for receiving mail only. Some are big enough to receive larger parcels.
PO Boxes are contactless and can be limited to certain hours of the day, like the package locker. It is also wise to check with your shipping company before using one as your receiving address. Not all companies deliver to PO boxes. Many require a street address.
Have the package delivered to a friend’s place or your office address
While this option defeats the purpose of the topic in the first place, it is still an alternative to consider. There are situations where your home address isn’t just an option with no acceptable package acceptance service close by.
In that case, you should consider having the package delivered to a friend’s residence. Of course, you will need to ask the friend. If you have a friend or a neighbor who will be at home during the day, you can have the package delivered to their address.
It is easy and convenient. Friends will probably do it for free, and you have more hours within which you can drop by and pick up your package.
It is also possible to have your mail delivered to your workplace. If you’re already at work, having the mail person drop it off at your office can be very convenient. It saves you resources you would have spent making that extra trip.
However, not all businesses permit this. Some offices do not have room to store packages, so it would be unwise to offer your office address as the mailing address.
Wanting to keep your home address private is no crime. We hope that the options offered in this article have pointed you in the right direction as to how you can receive emails while keeping your home address anonymous.
The bottom line is to understand that even without an address, you can still receive mail. The process is also quite simple to understand.
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