The United States Postal Service has made it its mission since the 18th century to provide communication, in the form of mail delivery, to every address in the US. The federally affiliated agency makes mail collection widely accessible, with post offices in most towns.
However, does USPS pick up mail from mailboxes? Depending on your age, that’s how your parents and grandparents probably did it, but what about today? Continue reading to find out the answer!
Does USPS Pick Up Mail From Mailboxes In 2023?
United States Postal Service carriers continue to use individual mailboxes as a collection point for outgoing mail in 2023. Mailboxes with red flags attached will be set upright; then, when the Postal carrier collects the mail, they will put the flag back down. Furthermore, it is also acceptable to hand outgoing mail directly to the carrier.
Let’s look a little more in-depth into how outgoing mail from your residence works, including what to do if your mailbox doesn’t have a red flag, if carriers pick up on Saturdays, and if you can schedule a pickup. Keep reading for all you need to know!
Will USPS Take Outgoing Mail From A Mailbox?
The United States Postal Service carriers are instructed to retrieve outgoing mail from mailboxes whose red flag is in the upright position.
However, what should you do if you do not have a red flag on your mailbox?
That said, if your mailbox doesn’t have a red flag on it, simply place your outgoing mail inside the mailbox, and the Postal carrier will know it’s outgoing mail.
However, make sure you place the proper postage on your outgoing mail. Otherwise, the carrier cannot take it.
How Do You Send Mail From Your Mailbox?
Sending mail from your mailbox is simple and easy. Furthermore, you’ll need whatever you are mailing, possibly a scale and postage.
First, get the mailpiece sealed and addressed. After that, printing, using black or blue ink, is the best and clearest way to address your envelope.
If it’s just a greeting card or a letter, you’re going to be able to get away with a Forever stamp or $0.58 worth of postage for First-Class.
However, if it looks thick or feels suspiciously heavier than a regular greeting card, you should pull out a scale and weigh it.
If it’s more than one ounce, you will need an additional $0.20 worth of postage for each ounce.
Moreover, once you have postage figured out and affixed, drop the mailpiece in your mailbox and lift the red flag to the upright position, indicating you have outgoing mail.
If you don’t have a red flag on your mailbox, you can just leave the outgoing mail in the box, and the Postal carrier will know what to do.
Also, you can opt to wait until your Postal carrier comes and hand it to them (especially if you have any questions).
Are USPS Postmen Required To Pick Up Mail?
If you don’t have any incoming mail, but you have some outgoing, you might be wondering if the mail carrier has to come to pick up what you’ve got; the answer is a little complicated.
For example, if you have a red flag that you can put up to indicate that you have outgoing mail, then yes, your mail carrier is obligated to get it.
However, what if you don’t have a red flag on your mailbox?
Unfortunately, there is no way for your Postal carrier to know that there is anything in your mailbox, so they might skip you (but not maliciously or lazily).
Also, a good way to tell if your mail carrier will be stopping by when you have outgoing mail and no flag is to sign up for Informed Delivery.
You’ll receive an email with a roundup of everything arriving that day or soon. Therefore, if you don’t receive an email, nothing is coming.
In that case, you might want to keep an eye out for the Postal carrier for your neighborhood and flag them yourself.
Or, you’ll know to find a Big Blue Box or stop at the post office to mail the piece out instead.
Does USPS Pickup Mail From Mailboxes On Saturday?
Yes, USPS mail carriers pick up mail from mailboxes on Saturdays.
In fact, did you know that Saturdays are a regular business day for the Postal Service?
So, while some post offices have more limited hours on Saturdays, the carriers are still out there, hitting the pavement or traversing the back roads to deliver and pickup.
Can You Mail A Letter From Any Mailbox?
You can indeed mail a letter from any mailbox – you aren’t restricted to mailing out from just your own.
So, if you’re going out of town to visit family and you want to send a postcard from their house, you can toss in your outgoing mail.
However, it’s probably safest to make the return address your home address unless your visit is an extended one. And like always, make sure you have the proper postage affixed.
Does USPS Schedule Pickup?
USPS now offers customers scheduled package pickups to get bigger mailpieces – like parcels – mailed out on your schedule, no finding a Big Blue Box necessary.
You can do this online, at USPS.com, by visiting this link, or by finding it under Quick Tools on the main header.
After that, you can pick the date and time and even modify either after submitting the request. However, package pickup is only for parcels, though, not letters.
That said, this service keeps your outgoing parcels, particularly ones that won’t fit in a mailbox, safe from porch pirates who might see them sitting out and grab them.
To learn more, you can also see our posts on USPS mailbox regulations, USPS virtual mailbox, and USPS lost mailbox key.
USPS mail carriers are instructed to pick up mail from mailboxes whose red flags are upright or mailboxes without red flags where outgoing mail has been left.
Also, customers are reminded that proper postage must be affixed, and pickups can be scheduled for parcels that don’t fit in the mailbox using Package Pickup on USPS.com.