Packaging and Addressing Tips

Packaging and labeling your shipment properly helps ensure that it will arrive on time and in good condition.

Packaging Tips & Suggestions

Here are ways to help reduce the likelihood of loss or damage to your packages.

  1. Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents and leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
  2. Cushion package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam™ peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
  3. Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced kraft paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
  4. Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
  5. Put the delivery and return address on one side only of package.
  6. Place a return address label inside the package.
  7. Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
  8. Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.
  9. Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing.
  10. Publication 2: Packaging for Mailing, and Publication 227: Preparing Packages for Mailing, contain more tips and are available free from your post office.
  11. Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.
  12. Purchase packaging products, including tape, envelopes, padded bags, corrugated boxes, mailing tubes, and cushioning material, from your post office. Some locations offer decorative boxes and expander packs that are suitable for mailing gifts.

Addressing Tips
It's as important to address your package properly as it is to pack it.

  1. Write, type, or print the complete address neatly.
  2. Always use a return address.
  3. Always use complete address information, such as the suffixes AVE, BLVD, and ST. Always include locators such as N, W, and SW.
  4. Don’t let an incorrect ZIP Code delay delivery of your mail. Go to the ZIP Code Lookup page to verify ZIP Codes.
  5. Use the four-digit add-on, ZIP+4, in your addressing. Hyphenate the ZIP+4.
  6. Always use the two-letter state abbreviations and common abbreviations. For a listing see Abbreviations chart.
  7. Place endorsements for special services, such as Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, or insured, above the destination address and below and to the right of the return address.