Rural Mailboxes: Care And Maintenance

Take care of your rural mailbox to make sure it properly holds and protects routine mail deliveries all year round.

A rural mailbox is important for those who live out in the country. It is the deposit area for U.S. delivered mail and the pick-up point for outgoing letters and packages. When your mailbox is broken, you can lose postal contact with the rest of the world.

That is why it's important to take care of your mailbox. You can buy one at a home supply store or some department stores for as little as $5 to $10, or you can get a more expensive one if you care to pay more. Some handy builders prefer to make their own, using their imaginations to sculpt a decorous post on which to attach the standard size mailbox for mail delivery. Mailboxes should sit about car window level so the delivery person can deposit mail without having to turn off the truck and get out to reach your box.

It's a good idea to post your home address number in large letters on the side of the mailbox. That way, the mail delivery person can confirm the correct box for your mail, and emergency personnel who may be called to your home for a fire or break-in can quickly locate your property. Some civic centers provide house numbers free of charge; check with your town council to see if they are available in your area.

Inspect your mailbox periodically to be sure it works properly. The small red flag should be able to be raised easily when you want the mail delivery person to pick up mail inside the box. The door of the mailbox should open readily but stay firmly closed otherwise. That way, animals, weather, and passing cars will be less able to invade the mailbox. Some containers open from both rear and front sections. That way, owners can retrieve their mail without having to step on to the road surface.

Check to be sure the post remains securely fixed in the ground. If it gets hit by a passing car, you'll need to replace it so the box does not become unsteady. Look for insect nests and remove these so neither the mail delivery person nor homeowner will get stung when accessing the mail.

Trim tall grass from around the ground post to keep mice from making nests or insects from settling there. It's no fun to reach for your mail and get bit by a spider. You may need to spray the area occasionally to get rid of unwanted pests.

Some people decorate their mailbox posts with climbing vines or plant flowers around the base of the post. Use your imagination to decorate this area in eye-catching ways that coordinate with the rest of your property.

Juveniles carousing late at night may bash your mailbox, rendering it unserviceable and in need of replacement. Some property owners file police complaints while others overlook such actions as pranks. You may decide to file a complaint after replacing your mailbox several times in a period of months, as sometimes happens to out-of-the-way homes.

Your mailbox establishes a connection between the government service of mail delivery and your home. Keep that connection up and running by maintaining a mailbox that operates correctly.

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