United States Postal Service Mail Preparation

1. Addressing

Proper addressing is not a mystery. When the mail piece meets size requirements, carries a correct address and Zip Code and the proper amount of postage, it moves easily through the mechanized sorting process and saving time and money. When improperly addressed, mail is diverted to manual handling, which is slower and more costly.

Here is a basic "anatomy of a well-addressed envelope" that will not only assure your mail arrives where you want it delivered, but also will get it there in the fastest time at the lowest cost:

  1. It helps when you capitalize everything in the address, eliminate all punctuation and use the common address and state abbreviations.
  2. Single space the address block. Put one or two spaces between the character groups and at least two (but not more than five) spaces between the state abbreviation and the Zip Code.
  3. The city, state and Zip Code must be the last line of the address. Never include an "Attention line," telephone number or other entries after the Zip Code.
  4. When using window envelopes, the address must be the only thing visible through the window. Make sure the addressed insert fits the envelope to prevent shifting. Try to keep 1/4" clearance between the address and the window edges.

When addressing envelopes larger than the regular letter-size envelope, always place the address lengthwise in the center of the envelope. University of Delaware mailing labels are available for use on all plain or blank flats and parcels.

All mail processed through Campus Mail Services must have a complete return address (must be preprinted or rubber stamped.) Hand written return addresses are unacceptable.

2. Packaging

The postage meters used by the Campus Mail Service will affix the postage and seal letter-size envelopes in one operation. However, for best results the envelope should not contain more than four sheets of paper. The sheets should be firmly creased and fully contained within the envelope, thus allowing the flap to be sealed in the proper position. Thicker envelopes and all envelopes larger than the regular-size envelopes (flats) must be sealed by the sender.

Forwarding unsealed envelopes to the mail room should be limited to volume mailings, not single pieces. Volume in this instance means twenty-five or more pieces. The odds are that a single envelope not sealed will go unnoticed and may be mailed without being sealed. Unsealed mail must be nested (one flap over the next) and rubber banded together.

DO NOT insert paper clips in an envelope, as they can cause damage to the postage meter. Staples are acceptable as long as the staple is not in the upper right corner where the postage is to be imprinted. Letters with paper clips inserted will be returned for removal.

Use the proper size envelope when mailing material in envelopes larger than a regular letter-size envelope (flat). Oversize envelopes only add to the cost of postage and the shifting contents tend to damage the envelope while in transit to destination. Do not overstuff a flat and expect it to reach its destination in good condition. Secure it with pressure sensitive glass filament tape.

When preparing parcels for mailing do not use masking tape, cellophane (Scotch) tape, cord or twine. Pressure sensitive glass filament tape is recommended. Gummed Kraft Paper tape is also acceptable and is required on registered mail.