It is essential to consider all the options when looking to move your household possessions across the country to your new home.
It is clear to you that the best approach to this is by hiring a professional interstate moving company to handle the entire moving process.
Only the price might be the stumbling block here. When moving long-distance, hiring a full-service mover comes at a high price, and so, you need to figure out the cheapest way to move your belongings to your new long-distance home with your slim budget.
We have discussed multiple times on this platform on how to get your items from one point to another when you are relocating, but you can also ship a few of these items.
Not all relocations involve moving many boxes, and there are times that you need to ship items across the country even when not moving.
It may be to send some packages to your friends or family in another state. You will need a cheaper option for this, and fortunately, there are many available.
Shipping your items as domestic with the United States Postal Services (USPS) is one of the ways you often overlook. Many benefits come with shipping boxes via USPS, such as a reduced price compared to what a standard mover will charge. Let’s take a look at how shipping boxes through USPS works.
What are the Available USPS Services?
The USPS is a government-owned carrier that serves consumers in many ways. They are responsible for providing postal services to everyone living in the US.
They always pledge that nothing will keep them from providing postal services, such as letters and package delivery to mailboxes of Americans.
Many businesses consider the USPS as their first choice carrier when they need to send their products across. However, there are few downsides to USPS. Continue reading to know when to use USPS for your next shipping job.
The United States Postal Service offers a variety of services for domestic, international, and other mail. Below is the list of services provided by the USPS.
Domestic Mail & Shipping Services
You will be greeted with the services below if you are looking to ship items in the US.
|USPS Domestic Shipping Service||Delivery Time|
|USPS Retail Ground||2-8 business days|
|Media Mail||2-8 business days|
|First-Class Mail||1-3 business days|
|Priority Mail||1-3 business days|
|Priority Mail Express||1-2 days or overnight|
International Mail & Shipping Services
You can also send the package to a different company with international shipping at USPS with various options in delivery times.
|USPS International Shipping Services||Delivery Time|
|Global Express Guaranteed||1-3 business days|
|Priority Mail International Service||6-10 business days|
|Priority Mail Express International||3-5 business days|
|First-Class Package International Service||Varies by destination|
There are many other services available with the USPS, namely:
- Priority mail and express priority mail gets free supplies
- USPS tracking
- No charges on shipment pickups
- Ship to military (send email such as DPO, APO, FPO)
- Custom envelopes and stamps
- Certified Mail
- Free shipping insurance (about $50 on Priority Mail and about $100 on Priority mail express)
How to Ship Boxes with the USPS?
Below is the full information for shipping boxes with the USPS when relocating to a new home:
Step 1: Prepare the boxes
Picking the perfect boxes is the first thing to do when shipping packages with USPS. Take measurements of all the boxes you are looking to ship with USPS.
Boxes higher than 108 inches in max length and girth are not allowed by USPS. Make use of only strong, clean, and dry boxes for convenient shipping.
Make sure your cardboard containers can close properly and also have enough space to allow for padding in case you have delicate stuff in there.
Make sure all flaps are enhanced with high-quality packing tape to secure your items. When reusing boxes, make sure all pieces of information on the boxes are removed or covered.
Get info about moving boxes’ sizes and guide here.
Step 2: Pack the boxes
Do the packing of your boxes the same way you would do it if you are transporting them using a moving company or loading them into your rental moving truck.
Check online for our packing tips to help you with the process. Your packages must satisfy some requirements before they can be shipped to their destination:
Pack your boxes and make sure they can close flat without bulging. Only packing tape is allowed for closing up boxes as other materials might get caught when processing mail through automated equipment, which may lead to another problem.
Use correct ADDRESS on your packages. Write both the departure and destination address on each of the boxes using a permanent marker.
You can as well print out address labels and paste on the packages. Just make sure you have your zip codes on the packages.
Step 3: Select the right mail service for your needs
The price you receive from USPS will determine whether you will ship with them or find another option. Most of their offices or even online charge $7 per box.
However, you will find varieties of services available with USPS with different pricing, packages sizes, delivery speeds and additional services like insurance and mail tracking,
- USPS Retail Ground: It is clear that your main focus is on the pricing. A lower shipping cost could mean a slower package delivery. You may choose to ship with the USPS Retail Ground, which is quite affordable and reliable. It is the plans with the slowest delivery speed from the list of plans with the USPS. It takes 2 to 8 business days at $7.35 at any post office.
- Medial Mail: This is a cost-effective way of transporting media and educational resources from one place to another in the country. This might be your best option for shipping your books to your destination home. You might be heavily charged for moving books to your new home with movers due to how heavy books can be. Media Mail price begins at $2.75 at any Post Office with USPS. Consider the Mail and Shipping services available with USPS with their unique prices and conditions.
Step 4: Calculate the price
Calculate how much the shipping will cost you in advance by making use of the Postage Price Calculator from USPS to determine if you are on the right track.
There are many factors that will determine the shipping cost, and they will be visible when using the price postage calculator. Carefully check to make sure the information you entered is accurate so you can get the correct postage price.
Step 5: Ship your boxes
The next step is to ship your boxes with USPS if your budget can accommodate the postage price. You may have to take the boxes you want to ship to the Post Office by yourself.
Don’t forget to ask for free package pickup in regular mail delivery, or pay a certain amount for pickup on demand if you want the company to come to pick up the boxes at a specific time.
It is important to consider different options for sending your belongings when relocating to another house, so that you can choose the most affordable and convenient approach.
Under certain situations, shipping your moving boxes with the United States Postal Service may not be the best idea when moving to a faraway state.
The shipping plan will determine the factors that determine how much you pay for your shipping through USPS, the sending location, as well as the destination, plays a key role.
Registering with a postage solution such as ShippingEasy or Stamps.com will make sure you get the best deal with USPS as they grant you access to commercial rates that carry discounts.
You can save about 46% of what you should pay on the average retail rates when you buy postage through one of the services online.
Below is the detailed breakdown of the cost of shipping services with USPS and as last updated on 30thof October 2019.
|USPS Retail Ground||Starts at $7.35||Prices depend on package size, weight, and destination location; can only be purchased at the Post Office|
|Media Mail||Starts at $2.75||can only be purchased at the Post Office|
|First-Class Mail||Starts at $0.33||Prices depend on package size, weight and destination location; for small packages or envelopes about 13oz|
|Priority Mail||Starts at $7.35; *flat-rate boxes available||Flat-rate boxes available – Flat-rate boxes prices not affected by weight or destination location; only non-flat-rate box with priority mail rates are affected by weight, size, and destination location|
|Priority Mail Express||Starts at $25.50||Prices depend on package size, weight and destination location|
NB: Flat-rate price is also available on USPS’s priority mail service. Pricing is not affected by the weight and destination of shipment when you opt for flat-rate boxes and envelopes. If you can match it, then USPS will ship your item for the pre-estimated price.
Additional Services Linked with Shipments
We have discussed all the domestic shipping services available with the USPS; let us now consider the other services offered by the United States Postal Services that can be added to the main services. This is where the confusion about USPS begins to set in from our viewpoint.
Below is the list of additional services that apply to most postage plans and when you can use them:
- Insurance coverage (up to $5,000): According to a customer, “I don’t really purchase protection for my items as they are very strong. I never stopped wondering about the stress that will be associated with claiming the insurance.” If the stress involved is similar to that of receiving a refund from a late Express Mail delivery, then you should be prepared to waste much of your time.
- Registered Mail: Your items will be more secure when you ship by registered mail. The coverage for loss or damage on packages is up to $25,000. A customer had a one-time experience in using this service when he shipped some valuables across the country.
- Delivery Confirmation: This is given for free on packages that allow you to print your shipping labels online, such as express mail and priority mail packages.
- Signature Confirmation: If you need the recipient to sign for receipt of the package then you can purchase this service. Packages of more than $250 in value should carry signature confirmation in case there is a chargeback or any payment issue after delivery.
- Certificate of Mailing: This service is only to show the date the package was sent out. We never used this service because it doesn’t indicate if the package gets to the recipient. You can only use this as a proof of mailing in the event of an insurance claim.
- Certified Mail: This lets you know the delivery status of a letter. The recipient signature is also required on the letter. This service is only applicable to letters. The first and the last time we used this service was when a client was sending her taxes.
- Return Receipt: With this service, a postcard is attached to the package you sent which the recipient must sign. It will then be mailed back to you as proof that it gets to the recipient. This works like the certified mail; only that it is not for letters.
- Collect on Delivery (COD): The recipient pays for both the package and its shipping cost when it gets to them. Send item that requires additional or special care.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, and it must be durable, sealed, and the origin and destination address clearly indicated on it. USPS cannot transfer boxes that indicate alcohol content like the old 12 pack box. Although indicating the address on the box is the safest method, I have always seen people send packages in boxes wrapped in brown craft paper with no objection.
Yes, there is no restriction in reusing boxes to ship packages, and you don’t have to remove any designs on the boxes before you use it again. Make sure you remove the previously used package instruction and any signature panel or label on the box before you reuse it.
The maximum weight of packages should not exceed 70 lbs. Usually, the overall length and girth of packages may not exceed 108 inches (USPS Retail Ground requires 130 inches).
The Priority Flat Rate boxes from the Postal Store are for free for USPS shipping. You can also get regular boxes from retail stores. Reusing boxes may reduce its sturdiness, so we suggest you don’t reuse a box from a supermarket or a recently used box from a friend’s move.
USPS accept shipping tape and not duct tape. Shipping tape is the only accepted tape because it is specially designed for shipping purposes, like pressure-sensitive tape, fiberglass-reinforced pressure sensitive-tape, or nylon-reinforced craft paper tape. Avoid using string, cellophane tape, wrapping paper, or masking tape.
Generally, a large but relatively light piece will be charged by its dimensional weight. When you ship the item through Priority Mail Flat Rate packaging through the USPS, the same flat rate will apply irrespective of the weight (about 70lbs) and destination location.
Packing or no packing, we may not understand the type of packing you mean. The USPS will provide you enough stickers, boxes, forms, and others for free. You can send packages through Priority Mail and Priority Express using boxes and pre-printed envelopes as they are also environmentally friendly. Regardless of the quantity you order, the USPS will ship all these materials to you free of charge.
Yes, you can always reuse boxes to ship stuff, and you do not have to remove the logos or any other designs on the exterior of the box. However, remember to remove the original signature label or panel that contains any specific shipping instructions.
Options for the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate are as follows:
|Legal envelopes||15″ x 91/2“||$7.45|
|Small Box||811/16” x 57/16” x 13/4“||$7.65|
|Medium Boxes||111/4” x 83/4” x 6″ , 14″ x 12″ x 31/2“||$13.20|
|Large Box||121/4” x 121/4” x 6″,241/16” x 117/8” x 31/8“||$18.30|
We can’t say, but we have this to say. The weight of Priority Mail is not up to 20 pounds, and it measures over 84 inches, but packages that have 180inches or less when the length and girth are combined are charged the same price for an item weighing 20 pounds.
Use packing tape, and not masking or adhesive tape. Use different packing tape that has a 2-inch width. Be sure to reinforce the seams and base of the box. Your goods will be prevented from shifting or breaking when you use bubble wraps, paper, and foam peanuts.
UPS/FedEx is a bit cheaper at 2lbs. USPS medium flat rate box is a bit cheaper at above 2lbs than UPS Ground or FedEx. Use the USPS flat rate large box to fit all your belongings if it weighs more than 5 lbs., else, using UPS or FedEx will be the cheapest for heavier shipments.
The USPS provides free shipping materials to its customers to send packages across specific categories of mail. You will get enough forms, boxes, stickers, and so on for free from the USPS. Order for these supplies through Stamps.com to get the USPS shipping supplies for free or visit the Post Offices across the nation to pick them up.
Although size really matters, you should be more concerned about how you use it. UPS and FedEx have since 2015 charge using dimensional weight to every shipment being sent via their systems. Dimensional weight, however, will cost $20.40. Only the size of the box can make the package weigh above 1 lb.
Regardless of the box you use, the priority postage is not affected unless you are making use of priority flat rate boxes for packages that should fit in a non-flat rate box because of weight. Using the USPS priority mailboxes will cost more. You can use the USPS Priority Mail Shipping box instead of your brown box.
USPS has come a long way in helping customers moving to a new home across the state of the country ship their boxes. Indicate in the comment section below how well you’ve been using any of these delivery services to successfully ship your packages as well as the carriers you choose and the reason behind your choice. Share your experience with us!
Thomas has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.