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Putting a new mailbox up? Be sure to follow the official guidance from the U.S. Postal Service.®
Here are a few rules, tips, and suggestions to make your mail carrier's day a little smoother.
Putting Up a New Mailbox
USPS-approved mailboxes have Postmaster General (PMG) approval labels. Have your post office approve your mailbox plans if you're making your box. Its height should be 41-45 inches above the ground, and set 6-8 inches back from the curb. Your number should be clearly marked on the mailbox. It's helpful to number your home as well. If on a corner, mark your mailbox with your complete street address.
Switching to a wall-mounted box? Get your post office's go-ahead first. No PMG approval label is required. Just be sure the box can handle your normal volume of mail, including magazines. Place it in a spot that's visible and convenient for the carrier.
Tip: Think about your carrier (and the substitutes). If you put up wind chimes and garden lighting, hanging baskets and so forth, be mindful of the carrier's path.
Installing a Post for the Mailbox
A proper mailbox post is strong and stable, but will bend or fall if hit by a car. It's two inches in diameter if made of metal. It's four by four inches if made of wood.
Posts should be buried up to two feet deep. (Concrete-filled containers are not recommended.)
Tip: When inclement weather arrives, remember that your mail carrier needs a safe approach — free of mud, ice, or snow — to the mailbox or mail slot.
Best Practices for Door Slots
If the mail comes through a slot, be sure the opening is 7 by one and a half inches, or larger. The bottom of the slot must be thirty inches above the ground.
Is the slot horizontal? The flap should open upward, hinged at the top of the slot. If vertical, it must be hinged opposite of the door hinge side.
Tip: Be sure the opening is clear for the carrier to deliver your mail without struggling. There are approved inner shields for slots to use, rather than stuffing anything in the slot to insulate your place from a draft. Oh, and do you happen to have a cat? With claws? Be sure the cat isn't making a sport out of grabbing the mail or trying to catch the carrier's hand through the slot! Being mindful might not be a rule, but it's nice.
Creating Carrier-Friendly Neighborhoods
Sun, rain, snow, or wind... Mail carriers brave it all for us. Help your neighborhood stay carrier-friendly in return. Know the rules. Consider the mail from your carrier's point of view.