Hold the mail

On our post Becoming a more organized traveler, Maria, one of our readers, wrote us to say that she always has her postal mail delivery suspended when she goes on vacation. This is a great idea because if mail piles up in your mailbox advertising that you’re not home, it makes you a target for theft and identity fraud.

Even when you’re at home, the “hold mail” option from your postal service can also help keep you organized during short-term events when mail would overflow your home mail centre. These events include:

Stay-cations. On a stay-cation you spend your days zooming around to attractions, restaurants, and treating your house like a hotel. Rather than have important mail get lost in all of the shuffle, have the post office hold it for you until guests have departed and you have returned to your regular mail processing routine.

Special Occasions. Weddings, anniversary parties, and family reunions take time and effort to plan, attend, and especially host. Consider having mail delivery suspended from a few days before, until a few days after the event. When the event is over, you’ll have time to sort through your mail properly and you won’t accidentally send your payment for the electric bill enclosed in a thank-you card.

Home Renovations. The house is being torn apart and work crews are everywhere. Mail can be easily lost (or stolen) in the tumult. Suspending mail delivery during this time may save you from losing important bills and payments. You can always pop-in to the post office and pick up your mail weekly if the renovations are over an extended period.

Some people who travel regularly choose to rent a post office box and have all of their personal mail delivered there. They pick it up every week or so and process it all at the same time. Even if you don’t travel, this option might work for you depending on the quantity of mail you receive and the ease of visiting your post office box.

Have you ever used a “hold-mail” service other than when going away on vacation? We’d love to hear how it worked for you.

5 Comments for “Hold the mail”

  1. posted by Nancy Kuykendall on

    Blizzards . Deep snow. And there is no one to shovel a path for the letter carrier. We get notice of incoming blizzards.
    I asked my letter carrier about this, and he said they will will not deliver mail, anyway, if they feel it too dangerous to deliver it.

  2. posted by Elaine Wilson on

    We are having our mail held during a major home renovation and pick the mail up weekly at the post office. Technically, the Postal Service says the time limit for holding mail is one month. Our project is now in its 6th month. Each week, we ask if they would like us to fill out a new hold request form, but have not been required to do so. I imagine that’s at the discretion of the local post office staff. On a side note, when we pick up our mail, we sort out the “junk” right there. Our local post office conveniently has a locked recycling bin on site and we only take home the relevant/important mail.

  3. posted by Kaz on

    Extended hospital stays, caring for someone at their home, working in a job that involes multiple days away from home. Its extremely useful if the Postal service allows a delegated person to collect mail on your behalf

  4. posted by Eddie on

    This is great! i never even knew about this! i don’t travel very often, but this could be perfect for my parents

  5. posted by Vanessa on

    I’m a travel blogger and I paid for mail-hold for the first time last summer when I was away for a month – that seemed like a long amount of time to rely on a neighbour. It worked wonderfully well except for one close call. I mailed a package of excess travel supplies home from the Czech Republic (assuming it would be held with the rest of my mail). Turns out, the post office did try to deliver it more than once and, if it were not for a neighbour seeing what was going on (and for the mail man being his cousin or something), the box would be sent back to Prague – and presumably to my befuddled former hotel. Not sure if the mix up was based on the post office having a different policy for parcels or if there was something we didn’t understand on the package slip we filled out (hmmmm…. signature box?) In the end, our neighbour got the package (probably not totally legal) and it all worked out. I’d def do mail hold again but if I was sending any packages, I’d mail them to a friend just to be safe.

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