With many employers permitting staffers to work remotely effectively into 2021, it’s possible you’ll be contemplating a momentary transfer. Perhaps you will have family who need assistance with baby care, or aged dad and mom to take care of. Or perhaps, for those who’re going to be on their own for the following few months anyway, you’ve determined having deer as neighbors in a tiny home within the woods sounds higher than communing with the roaches in your condominium.
Before you go, among the many issues it’s best to take into consideration is methods to preserve your mail and packages flowing. A brief relocation is just not the identical as even a two-week trip, when you’ll be able to put a maintain in your mail on the put up workplace and blissfully ignore it till you get house. Sure, a lot of what arrives in your field nowadays — like payments — can and will already be delivered electronically.
However, important correspondence (like your absentee or mail-in poll) is destined in your mailbox this fall. You additionally could have extra packages set to auto-ship than you’ve realized (or it’s possible you’ll not keep in mind to vary your handle earlier than hitting “buy now” in your favourite e-commerce websites). If you don’t need to sacrifice your goodies to marauding porch pirates, you must be proactive about updating your mailing handle.
Set up forwarding.
The first step is straightforward: Sign up for mail forwarding, a service supplied by the United States Postal Service. Ask for PS Form 3575 at your native put up workplace or full the forwarding course of on-line (though there’s a $1.05 cost for internet sign-up). Make positive to point your predicted finish date on the shape. The put up workplace considers any transfer as much as six months momentary. If you keep longer than that, you’ll must ask for an extension in your mail forwarding, which the company will do for an additional six months.
It’s potential you’ll run into a state of affairs the place the house you’re shifting to has not but been arrange for U.S.P.S. service (particularly if it’s very rural or has been primarily a trip house). Visit your nearest put up workplace to have them set you up with supply service or give you entry to a free P.O. Box if you’re not on an current postal route.
Even for those who assume you’ll be able to dwell with out Postal Service deliveries, do not forget that the put up workplace does some last-mile deliveries for different shippers — like United Parcel Service and FedEx. If you need your goodies, you’ll want a method to get deliveries from the put up workplace.
Once you’ve submitted your change of handle type, the put up workplace will ship a “Mail Validation Letter” to your present residence letting your request is within the system. You’ll additionally obtain a Customer Notification Letter at your new handle, which comprises a code you’ll want if you find yourself shifting house sooner or need to prolong your getaway. It will take between seven and 10 supply days (Saturdays rely; Sundays don’t) for mail to start arriving at your new handle, so don’t depart this till the final minute.
To guarantee nothing will get misplaced within the shuffle as you relocate, the Postal Service recommends signing up for its free Informed Delivery Service, which sends electronic scans of any envelopes headed your way, plus updates on package delivery. You can also leave instructions for carriers on where to put specific packages. Informed Delivery can be useful during a move, and particularly now, when online retail sales are way up and the Postal Service deals with organizational changes. If you already had Informed Delivery at your old address, you will need to use the code in your Customer Notification Letter to change your address from old to new. (And F.Y.I., Informed Delivery is not offered at every address.)
Set up your package deliveries.
When it comes to mail or packages from UPS and FedEx, the onus is on you, said Jenna Weinerman, the vice president of marketing for Updater, an app that assists with the move process. Neither has the same forwarding feature that the Postal Service offers. However, both allow you to track packages in real time and leave instructions for the delivery person. (Unless you specify, packages are generally left on doorsteps or in designated areas in apartment buildings.)
UPS My Choice, a free service from UPS, will even give you an option to reroute a package that’s bound for your old address or have one left at a “UPS Access Point” — usually a nearby retail outlet — if a box is going to arrive after you leave for your new home. FedEx offers a Delivery Manager tool, which lets you closely track packages for free and reroute them if needed — for a fee. If a signature is required, FedEx’s Delivery Manager and UPS My Choice will let you sign for a package remotely. And if the post office is doing the last-mile delivery, you can track those packages using USPS.com’s tracking tool once they enter the post office’s custody.
Don’t forget that dog food subscription.
Ms. Weinerman recommends you look through your past two credit card statements to check for auto-ship subscriptions you have connected to your home address. Commonly overlooked subscriptions include pet food, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and even things like specialty coffee.
Inevitably, no matter how hard you try to corral your online purchases, a few stray boxes may arrive after you depart. For those, you’re going to need to think strategically, since unattended packages are ripe for theft.
Beware of ‘porch pirates.’
Ben Stickle, a criminologist at Middle Tennessee State University, theorizes that porch piracy — or package theft from doorsteps — has likely risen during the pandemic, simply because e-commerce has seen such a huge jump. Technically, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover stolen packages. But check your deductible before filing a claim; chances are it’s higher than the value of what was stolen, said Michele Staron, a licensed independent insurance agent. Plus, claims could substantially raise premiums or have an insurance carrier not renew your policy, she said.
If you report your theft to the police, they’ll try to solve the crime, but that’s often an almost impossible task, since usually, little evidence is left behind. Dr. Stickle said a majority of victims instead reach out to the shipping company or the vendor when a package goes missing.
“In most states, once a package is marked as delivered, technically it becomes your property,” Dr. Stickle said, which means it’s not really FedEx or UPS’s problem if it’s stolen. Dr. Stickle said many retailers are opting to replace stolen goods with no questions asked as a good-will gesture. “They’re willing to take the burden and cost to refund or resend.”
The easiest option, though, is to take a few steps to prevent theft, which is largely a crime of opportunity, Dr. Stickle said. Thieves tend to target homes close to roadways with boxes in plain view. The easiest way to thwart pirates, then, is to remove packages from view.
He recommends a planter or decorative box that you can put a package in. Cameras can alert you if an unexpected delivery shows up while you’re away, so you can ask a neighbor to hold it until you come home.
Consider a mail concierge.
Finally, while there are not many international destinations welcoming Americans at the moment, if you’re thinking of working abroad for a few months, consider opting for a concierge mail service like Traveling Mailbox. “The last two or three months have been record months for us,” said Travis Poole, the company’s founder and president.
Here’s how it works: Before you leave, you set up mail forwarding to Traveling Mailbox’s headquarters. For $15 to $25 (depending on how much mail you tend to receive), the company takes your correspondence and sends digital scans of everything that’s not junk. Employees will open anything you ask them to open. They can also forward items, send your paychecks to your bank for deposit and pay bills.