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Do All Houses Have a Mailbox? What to Do If Yours Doesn’t

Sometimes people don’t realize their house doesn’t have a mailbox for weeks or months.

These days, packages often sit on front steps or driveways rather than inside mailboxes. Statements and other mail are usually digital, so it’s not like people expect to receive letters as much.

Not every house has a mailbox. If your house doesn’t have a mailbox, check whether you have a mail slot in your front door or if there is a collective mailbox down the street for all the houses in the neighborhood.

If you’re not getting any mail at all, you probably need to talk to the local post office about starting mail service for your property.

Houses in rural neighborhoods often have trickier times with mail than in suburban developments.

Additionally, the prior owner may have requested the post office to stop mail service because they were getting too much junk mail, and they removed the mailbox to stop people from putting things in it.

If your house doesn’t have a mailbox and you’re worried about receiving important mail, here are some things you can do.

Install a Mailbox!

Hand opening newly installed vintage style mailbox

You could pay someone to come to install a mailbox for you, but you can also easily install one yourself. People always buy different mailboxes when they move into a new house because they want a particular style.

Local home improvement stores will have several styles and sizes, so you can find something you like for your mail.

Talk to the Post Office About Mail Service

People talking to post office mail service assistant

Not having a mailbox doesn’t always equate to not getting any mail. If a mail delivery person doesn’t see a mailbox in the yard or driveway, they’ll typically walk up to the door and either leave the mail on the steps or stick it in your door slot.

If you’re not getting any mail, there could be an issue with the postal service, so either call or go to your local office to discuss turning on the mail service at your property.

The USPS typically does an excellent job of covering almost every property. However, if you live somewhere especially remote, it may be outside their coverage area. Sometimes folks have to pay for a post office box in the post office where they can receive mail.

It won’t be as easy as getting your mail at home, but you can drop by the post office when you’re expecting something.

Check for Cluster Mailboxes

Residential mailboxes with numbered compartments on the side of a road

Many newer home developments have cluster mailboxes that save the postal service time. If you’re living in an apartment complex or a townhouse development, it’s normal to have cluster mailboxes rather than individual mailboxes due to space concerns.

Unfortunately, cluster mailboxes sometimes make it easier for the mail to go into the wrong boxes, so neighbors often have to leave mail on top of the cluster mailbox that isn’t theirs.

As your management office or the prior owner where the mail is delivered to make things easier.

Ask About a Free PO Box

Woman hand holding a key and unlocking a PO box, in the long row of PO boxes

Once you ask the post office whether you’re eligible for delivery, what happens if you are outside of their service area?

We’ve mentioned that some people need to get PO boxes, but the good news is that in some cases, the box is free if you aren’t eligible for delivery.

You can ship letters and packages to PO boxes. Typically, the post office will leave package slips in your tiny box to tell you something bigger is behind the desk.

Also, delivery companies like UPS have agreements with the USPS, so they’ll leave packages at the post office where your PO box is rather than driving them out to your physical address.

What to Put on a New Mailbox?

You’re not required to put anything on a mailbox that you install, but you can certainly make it easier for the post office and anyone else who comes to deliver something to your house.

Is it easy to read your house number from the street? Sometimes it’s very difficult, so putting stickers with the house number on the mailbox saves the postal service a ton of time.

You can buy number stickers at any store that sells mailboxes. Once the mailbox is in the ground, put the stickers in a conspicuous place.

If you want to keep your mailbox clean, you should think about painting the curb next to the mailbox to indicate which house is which.

Does It Have to Be on the Street?

Mailbox with lowered red flag inside wire fence of a house

No, mailboxes don’t have to be on the street. Delivery people in trucks usually prefer delivering mail to mailboxes on the street because they don’t have to get out of the vehicle. It means they can get done with their routes faster.

However, some people deal with mail theft, and moving the mailbox closer to the house is a fantastic way to deter people from grabbing your mail when you’re not looking.

You can install your new mailbox next to your door, up the driveway, or anywhere else that’s obvious. If the mailbox is hard to find, the delivery person will likely leave your mail on your front steps or at the front door.

Houses with Gates

Brown metal gate and door with black mailboxes attached to it near a rural street

Some houses have gates at the end of a long driveway. The owners don’t love the look of a mailbox, so they go without it. Mail delivery workers will typically stick the mail between the gate poles or stack it on a wall next to the gate.

If you’re buying a house with a gate that doesn’t have a mailbox at the entrance, you can either buy a new one or stick with the prior owner’s plan.

Final Thoughts

Not every house has a mailbox. There are mail slots in doors, cluster boxes, or PO boxes at the local post office. The type and size of the mailbox are up to you as long as there aren’t any HOA rules you have to follow.

Buy a nice mailbox that’s easy for delivery people to find. If you’re still not getting mail, give your local post office a ring to ask whether you’re in their service area and if you’re eligible for mail delivery.