Why I Love the U.S. Postal Service (and Why You Should, Too)

Packages If there’s one thing that I don’t love about the holidays, it’s shipping packages. The schlep to the post office, the long lines…is there anyone out there who enjoys that part? And then I discovered something. The post office will pick up packages. From your home. For free. (No kidding!)

If you visit the postal service’s website, you’ll notice a link at the top of the page that says “Schedule a Pickup.” It’s that easy. Here’s how it works:

The package should be accessible. If there’s no way to leave a parcel on your front porch or with the doorman to your building (and if you’re not home during the day), this won’t work for you.

You’ll have to ship Priority. The USPS requires that at least one of your packages be Priority mail, Express mail or a Return Item to schedule a pickup. If you’re looking to save money, group as many packages together as possible and just make one of them Priority mail. (It’s not that pricey, actually. I can ship a 1-pound package from New York to Virginia for less than $5. And I like to ship Priority anyway around the holidays, when the mail gets bogged down.)

Weigh your packages. This isn’t hard. I own an inexpensive food scale that I use for small items, and for bigger things I use a normal scale—weigh yourself first, and then weigh yourself holding the package. Do some basic math.

Input your name and address, the number and weight of your packages, and the day you want them to be picked up. Done. Don’t have a Priority box? Create a profile on USPS.com, and you can calculate (and print!) postage.

This has made my life so much easier. Now I no longer have to brave the long holiday lines at the post office in December.

How do you get your shipping done during the holidays?