Skip the line at the post office with this easy way to ship packages

Sure, you could stand in a long line at the post office with a face mask on, or you could get in and out with this smart tip.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Skip the post office lines and drop your packages in a drop box.

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Whether you're sending a care package, a bunch of face masks you made or a returned purchase, do you really want to wait in line at the post office to ship your package? Long lines and social distancing while wearing a possibly uncomfortable face mask sounds like a bad recipe to us. We'd much prefer to skip the line. It isn't all that hard. Once you have the right supplies, you can easily prep your package at home and drop it off. Here's the best trick -- you can even get your shipping boxes for free, from the USPS itself.

If you're using your own box, you'll need to know the exact weight of the package you're sending. Here's a better way. USPS offers a flat-rate service that lets you order free boxes and ship packages up to 70 pounds. Shipping prices start at $7.50, depending on the package size. To avoid having to tape it at the post office, most people can choose the medium side-load box option.

Once you've got the item boxed up, you'll need to print a prepaid shipping label from USPS. To do so, log in to your USPS account, navigate to Click N Ship and purchase your shipping label. You can then print the label at home and tape it to your box.

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Once you're ready to ship the item, you can either request a pickup or drop the package in a USPS collection box. The boxes are generally located at the post office, but can also be found outside at other locations, such as grocery stores, other types of stores and libraries. To find the one closest to you, visit the Find Locations page on the USPS site and filter by Collection Boxes.

While you won't get a receipt using this shipping method, you can still track your package on the USPS site. The tracking number will be on the bottom of your USPS tracking label and in your confirmation email.

You know how to ship packages without going inside the post office now, but what about packages left at your door? Here's what to know about coronavirus and your packages and how to safely order food delivery, takeout and groceries during the coronavirus quarantine.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.