The Christmas mailing season has come to Louisiana and based on my visit to the Lafayette, Louisiana Post Office on Bertrand Drive yesterday, I'd say folks are into it. The line was long when I first arrived but the clerks at the counter moved everyone through fairly quickly. Hopefully, my experience will serve as a reminder that lines at the post office and other shipping facilities will be growing longer in the coming weeks.

US Postal Service Experiences Busiest Day Of The Year As Holidays Approach
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

What's The Post Office Rule Regarding Used Boxes for Shipping?

Since boxes become in high demand around this time of year many of us will resort to re-using or recycling previously used boxes for our parcels that need to be mailed. The use of a used box is just fine according to the Post Office. However, all markings and labels will either need to be removed or completely marked out so the USPS electronic scanners can't read them.

Anne Nygard via
Anne Nygard via

Want Your Package to Arrive On Time? Do This.

Believe it or not, the biggest issue that the USPS faces in getting your package delivered on time has to do with how you address the package. Believe it or not, there is an actual correct way to do that and based on what we've seen at the Post Office here lately, some of y'all are not aware of the protocol.

Post Offices Brace For Busiest Mailing Day Of The Year
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Here's the proper way to address a package, according to

  • Place the recipient’s address in the center with the name in the first line.
  • On the second line, indicate the Post Office Box or street address, with apartment, suite, or room number added on the same line, preferably with the words written out and not abbreviated. Directional words such as north, east, south, and west may be required and abbreviations are acceptable.
  • On the following line, be sure to add the city, state, and ZIP Code, ideally the ZIP+4 Code. You can use the ZIP code lookup on

Just for clarity, you will need to put the sender's address or a return address on the package as well. That address should go in the upper left-hand corner of the package. It should be above and to the left of the recipient's address.

Aaron Burden via
Aaron Burden via

Handwriting Matters and So Does the Color of the Ink You Use

The United States Postal Service has invested billions of dollars in sophisticated electronic scanners that can read even a doctor's handwriting. Still, the more clearly and legibly you write, the better the machines can scan the data successfully. And when it comes to the writing instrument you choose to use make sure the ink does not smear. And never use red ink. It just slows down the system if you do.

In fact, the USPS suggests that if you can, you create and print out your shipping labels. This way everything is written clearly, the ink is black, and the scanners will be able to read the data. And if you're wondering about deadlines for shipping to make sure it arrives by Christmas, you'll find just about every shipping scenario you can think of addressed right here. 

10 Old School Christmas Specials That Hit You in the Feels

Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikels





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