Although it’s easy to ignore emails, the same can’t be said for the paper mail in your mailbox. Whether you’re on vacation or you haven’t had a chance to grab your mail for another reason, your paper mail can easily accumulate if ignored. Have you ever wondered if you’re obligated to check the mailbox everyday?
Do I Have to Check My Mailbox Every Day?
No law states a person is required to check their mailbox every day. However, leaving your mail to accumulate can lead the mailbox to get full. The post office will issue a notice that you have mail accumulating when this happens. The post office will hold your mail for ten days and then return it to the sender after that.
How Often Should You Check Your Mailbox?
If you don’t want to make additional trips to the post office, you should check your mailbox at least once per week. This way, you can empty the box and leave space for subsequent mail deliveries. Sifting through and opening mail can be a tedious task, so you could designate a spot in your home to drop your mail in until you have some free time to go through everything.
Checking your mailbox at regular intervals is also important as you may receive important bills or jury summons via USPS. Leaving these to sit in your mailbox could lead to late fees and legal troubles if left too long.
What Happens When You Don’t Check Your Mailbox?
If you leave your mail to accumulate for too long, your postal worker will take it back to the post office with them. The post office will then hold your mail for up to ten days before returning the post to the original sender. When this happens, you’ll receive a notice that the post office is holding your mail for you.
If the mail carrier believes your residence to be unoccupied for 90 days they can consider the residence vacant and discontinue mail deliveries. This timeframe can be discretionary in some cases.
You won’t receive any sort of fine, but unpaid bills, jury summons, or other urgent mail may be within your accumulated mail. For that reason, you should come up with a system that works for you for regularly checking your mail.
How to Put a Hold on Your Mail
If you plan on going away for work or vacation for a prolonged time, you can coordinate a mail hold with your local post office. Rather than delivering your mail during daily deliveries, the post office will hold your mail at their location for up to 30 days. Mail hold requests can be made up to 30 days in advance or as late as the day before your scheduled hold start date.
Mail hold requests can be made Monday through Saturday and can easily be done via the USPS website. To initiate a hold request, here’s what you need to do:
1. Create an account on the USPS website
The USPS website has an easy-to-follow system for mail hold requests.
2. Search “Hold Mail”
Go to holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/. You’ll be shown the steps for initiating a request and verifying your identity on this page.
3. Complete your request
Once your identity is verified, you won’t need to do this again until you leave your current address. Follow the prompts to complete your mail hold request.
How to Track Your Mail
In some cases, your expected mail may come with a tracking number. If so, you can input this number into the USPS mail tracker on the website. After hitting enter, you’ll be able to see the current status of your mail. A tracking number is typically issued for packages and official mail.
What is Informed Delivery?
Informed Delivery by USPS is a service the post office provides where you can digitally preview your mail. This service comes in handy because it allows you to check the website to see when important bills or other letters will be coming in the mail. You can go longer between mail checks with informed delivery as you know exactly when bills will come in.
With that said, informed delivery shouldn’t deter you from regularly checking your mailbox. To avoid accumulating mail, be sure to check your mail at least once per week.
Do I Have to Check My Mail?
There’s no law that requires you to check your mail. However, regularly checking your mailbox means you won’t accidentally miss important bills or other official letters.
Ignoring your mailbox and allowing your mail to accumulate also means you have to carve out additional time in your day to pick your mail up from the post office.
To prevent this from happening, it’s best to check your mail at least once per week and to have a designated spot in your home for mail to sit after bringing it inside.
Checking Your Mail FAQs
How long will the post office hold accumulated mail?
Your local post office will hold accumulated mail for up to ten days. After the ten-day window closes, any mail left at the post office will be returned to the original sender.
When you have accumulating mail at the post office, your postal worker will leave a notice at your home informing you of the USPS location holding your mail.
Can someone else open my mail?
It is a federal crime to open or destroy another person’s mail. However, it is permissible to open another person’s mail if they give explicit permission to do so. So, if you have someone house-sitting for you and they bring your mail in, they are allowed to open it only if you tell them it’s okay.
What do I do if someone has stolen my mail?
If someone stole your mail, you could report the mail theft through the USPIS website. To report a theft, simply go to the website and select the appropriate category to be take to the corresponding form to fill out.