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Move Out Skills: Learning How to Ship a Package (without Amazon)

Remember back to your first trip to the post office … alone? The many impatient glares from people in line behind you? The 500 questions the clerk asked (that you had no clue how to answer)? “Do you need a delivery confirmation and return receipt?” Huh? 

In a world filled with technology and e-commerce, many teens are comfortable slapping a pre-printed return label on a package and dropping it off at the post office. But does your teen know how to ship a package without the help of Amazon?

Share these easy steps to help your teen have a smooth first solo trip to the post office.

How to Mail a Package:

Step 1: Prepare the package

Make sure you prepare your package in advance. It aids in safe delivery and avoids unnecessary fees. Finding a good cardboard box at home will save you some money. Select a box that is the proper size and provides the correct support for the item(s) you want to ship. When shipping fragile items, make sure you mark the package as “FRAGILE” and wrap the item in foam or plastic bubble wrap to prevent breakage. If you hear items shifting, that is a good indicator that your item needs more cushioning. Once items are carefully packed, seal the box with packaging tape to prevent items from falling out or being tampered with.

Step 2: Label the package

Make sure you correctly label the package. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to visit the USPS website and click on the print shipping label button. In the return address section, type in your address. Then, type the delivery address. Finally, print the label and attach it to the box with clear packaging tape.

The second option is to write the address you’re sending the package to in the center of the package, using a pen or Sharpie. Put the recipient’s name on the first line, street address on the second line, and city, state, and zip code on the third line. Then in the upper left hand corner, write your address, a.k.a. the return address.

Step 3: Determine shipping method

How fast do you want your package to arrive? There are a variety of shipping methods that have different price levels. Priority Mail Express is the most expensive option but guarantees overnight delivery. Priority Mail typically ensures delivery within 1 to 3 days. Standard shipping is the cheapest and delivers within 5 to 7 business days.

Step 4: Ship your package

Take your package to the nearest USPS. If your package weighs 13 ounces or less and has the correct postage affixed, you can drop it in the blue collection box. Packages over 13 ounces must go to the clerk behind the counter at the post office. Keep your receipt, which has the confirmation number and tracking information, if you need to track delivery.

Danyelle Chambers

Danyelle Chambers is a social media consultant for Your Teen.