The Post Office is a well-stocked location where you can buy stamps, occasional cards, and even gift cards in some locations. However, did you know that most Post Offices also have its own little shipping store within the lobby?
You might not have noticed it if you haven’t had to use it before, but it’s called USPS Ready Post. What is USPS Ready Post and what is its purpose? I have the answer to that question below!
What Is USPS Ready Post In 2024?
The United States Postal Service carries its own line of packaging, known as Ready Post in 2024. Available both online and in Post Offices, Ready Post carries a line of USPS-branded mailers, including envelopes, bubble wrap, and boxes. In contrast to Priority Mail boxes and envelopes, Ready Post is not available for free.
To learn more about what USPS Ready Post means, how much they cost, if they’re reusable and even some free or cheaper alternatives to Ready Post, keep reading!
What Does USPS Ready Post Mean?
USPS ready Post is the name given to the Postal Service’s brand of shipping supplies.
The boxes and envelopes are cardboard-colored, and the bubble wrap is Ready Post branded.
Everything indeed looks ready to post, with the shipping address and return address spaces clearly emblazoned on the packaging for easy, clear labeling.
Furthermore, you can purchase Ready Post packaging in your local Post Office; just look for a display that reads “Shipping Supplies” or something similar.
Additionally, you can order Ready Post online, but the USPS eCommerce store only sells the packaging in higher-volume quantities.
So unless you want to buy 20 Large cartons at once, you’re better off heading to the Post Office to purchase them individually.
Moreover, that’s really the thing you need to know about Ready Post; not to be confused with Priority Mail supplies, Ready Post is not free.
You can’t just walk out of the Post Office with your arms full of Ready Postboxes – they must be paid for!
Are USPS Ready Post Boxes Free?
USPS Ready Post boxes are absolutely not free.
That would be to confuse them with Priority Mail shipping supplies, which USPS does offer for free in Post Offices and online.
Furthermore, Ready Post supplies are actually more expensive than some other options (This will be delved into further down in the article).
However, you can turn to them if you’re in a hurry, don’t have any boxes at home, don’t want to spend the money on Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, etc.
For many people, though, because of the cost associated with Ready Post shipping materials (which varies, based on your location), they are not the best or the first option.
How Much Does It Cost To Send A USPS Ready Post Bubble Mailer?
According to PrattBox.com, sending a USPS Ready Post bubble mailer can be quite affordable.
That’s because if your package weighs less than an ounce, you can get away with just a Forever stamp, and it’ll ship First-Class.
However, you will also have to factor in the cost of the bubble mailer itself.
Can You Reuse A USPS Ready Post Box?
You can indeed reuse USPS Ready Post boxes!
While the Post Office encourages people to reuse Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for Priority Mail, USPS Ready Post boxes are more generally applicable.
You can use them to ship Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Retail Ground, or pretty much any mail class that ships parcels, the Ready Post boxes can be reused.
As with all box reusing, however, you will want to make sure that old labels are marked over or removed, especially the barcodes and Tracking numbers.
Can You Walk Into USPS And Get Boxes?
You can walk into your local USPS Post Office location and get boxes; however, you can only get Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for free.
Ready Post boxes, which are generally located in a small Shipping Center in the Post Office lobby area, are not free, either in stores or online.
Either way, if you don’t have any shipping materials at home and you need to get something out in the mail fast, you can go to your local Post Office.
They will have something in-store you can use, whether you opt to pay for Ready Post, plus postage, or Flat Rate Boxes, which you can pick up for free, plus postage.
What Is Cheaper Than USPS Ready Post?
As I mentioned, USPS Ready Post is kind of a last resort for people mailing out parcels, simply because having to pay for boxes at all is by default more expensive than finding boxes for free.
So what is cheaper?
- Use boxes you already have on hand; see this handy FAQ for best practices when reusing boxes
- Find out when a convenience store/grocery store/liquor store gets their truck and go back to ask for their empty boxes (that normally get broken down and recycled)
- Buy shipping supplies on Amazon
- Compare prices to see if mailing something via Priority Mail Flat Rate will save you money.
There’s a chance it might not be cheaper, but the additional perks – free boxes, Tracking, $50-worth of included insurance – are worth the extra expense
USPS Ready Post is the “brand” name for the Postal Service’s own line of shipping supplies, including boxes, bubble wrap, and envelopes.
While they’re a terrific option if you have literally nothing else at hand to ship, many people find it’s much more economical to shop elsewhere for mailables.