While most outdoor home items experience infrequent usage, residential mailboxes are a stand out as an outdoor item that every homeowner utilizes on a daily basis.
Yet many homeowners fail to exploit the complete capacity of residential mailboxes to their advantage. In this article, we’ll explore three quick and easy ways to improve your residential mailbox:
- Mailbox Locks
- Mailbox Address Numbers and Address Plaques
- Mailbox Care and Maintenance
As a homeowner, the first way you can improve your residential mailbox is to secure it with a mailbox lock.
Now, it’s not likely anyone will steal the entire mailbox, but certainly an unlocked mailbox will put your contents at risk of mail theft, or even worse, identity theft. With the rapid rise of identity and mail theft over the past 15 years, the United States Postal Office recommends (in an official USPS bulletin dated May 15, 2011) that homeowners consider using secure, locking residential mailboxes.
Thus, one of the key improvements you can make is to either replace your existing post or wall mount mailbox with a secure locking mailbox or to install a locking mechanism on your current residential mailbox.
Mailbox Address Numbers and Plaques
By affixing a mailbox address plaque to your post or wall mount residential mailbox, you ensure that not only does your mail carrier deliver mail to the right mailbox but also that guests and home maintenance personnel can utilize the mailbox address to find your residence.
Most residential mailboxes offer multiple locations for addressing the mailbox.
You can affix a mailbox address to the mailbox door, the mailbox sides, to the top of the mailbox using mailbox toppers, or even upon the mailbox post. Personalized residential mailboxes have become quite popular however, we recommend limiting the information placed on your residential mailbox to your name and address, as advertising on residential mailboxes or mailbox posts is prohibited by the United States Postal Service. In all instances, placing the owner’s name on the mailbox is optional and not required by USPS, as some homeowners prefer their privacy.
When exterior residential mailboxes are post mounted on a street other than the one on which the homeowner resides, both the street name and house number must be on the residential mailboxes (per USPS guidelines). USPS guidelines also state that all address information (name, address, street name, etc.) must be inscribed in a contrasting color in neat letters and numerals not less than an inch in height.
When placing a mailbox address plaque or address numbers on your residential mailbox, consider placing the address numbers along the side of the mailbox or along the top (using a mailbox topper) instead of upon the mailbox door since the address numbers can no longer be seen when the mailbox door is opened.
It’s best to place mailbox address plaques and numbers along both sides of your residential mailbox so that they may be seen from either direction. However, if only one mailbox side is chosen for the placement of address numbers, it is recommended that you choose the side facing the traffic nearest your residential mailbox.
Care and Maintenance of Residential Mailboxes
In order to promote homeowner mailbox maintenance, the USPS designates the third full week of May as Mailbox Improvement Week. This was created to encourage all US residents to examine and, where necessary, improve the appearance of their exterior residential mailbox.
It is a fact that well maintained, attractive mailboxes make a significant contribution to the appearance of the countryside and neighborhood streets in suburban areas. Not only does regular mailbox care and maintenance help prevent mail delivery issues, it also ensures that neighbors and guests to your home receive a warm welcome as one’s mailbox is often their first impression of your residence.
The USPS suggests three primary maintenance tasks that should be regularly performed during Mailbox Improvement Week. They are:
- Cleaning your residential mailbox – Which most mailbox manufacturers state can be done both inside and outside the mailbox with a mild cleaning solution and a wet cloth.
- Checking that residential mailboxes are standing upright on their post – Often snowplows or simple wear-and-tear can cause a mailbox to lean and make it difficult for one’s mail carrier to utilize.
- Check and lubricate (if necessary) all mailbox moving parts – Including the door, locking mechanisms if any, and mailbox door. If one of the parts on your residential mailbox is failing, new parts can be ordered from the nation’s leading retailer of residential mailboxes, The MailboxWorks.