Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How To Put An Mail Hold

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

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.

Mail Hold Timing
Based on my own past experience I recommend that you put in a mail hold order at least 1 week in advance. You can schedule the service up to 30 days in advance according to the USPS.com FAQ page when you enter the "hold mail" search term. This seems to allow enough time for the electronic request to be routed and handled manually by the hard-working people at your local branch.

If you forgot and have to submit this request at the last-minute, I suggest that instead you visit the post office in person. Preferably go to the physical branch that delivers mail to your home and not necessarily the one closest to work or co-located in a supermarket for example. That way you can complete and hand in the paper version (usually yellow or white in color) of this form and talk to someone to make sure it is processed in time for your travels.


Hold mail

Stop junk mail

Change of address

US mail tracking

USPS hours

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