4 ways to easily ship packages without leaving the house


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Schedule your packages to be picked up so you can skip the post office.


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Standing in line at the post office was already one of my least favorite things to do, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, it sounds like a recipe for extra stress and exposure to a room of antsy people eyeing each other warily — even if we’re all wearing face masks. 

If you must mail a package to a family member or colleague, here’s a way to get free boxes from USPS and skip the line. But you can also take it a step further and avoid going to the post office altogether when you need to ship a package.

Shipping facilities like USPS, FedEx and UPS all offer scheduled pickup options for shipping packages. In most cases, you’ll need to have the item boxed up and purchase a shipping label ahead of time before scheduling. While scheduling a pickup is free when you use USPS and UPS, it’ll cost you if you use FedEx. You can also schedule pickups for your Amazon returns, too.

Once your item has been picked up, you should receive an email confirmation from the carrier you chose. Here’s how to ship your packages without going to the post office.

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Let the carrier know where you’re leaving the packages to pick up.


Sarah Tew/CNET

USPS

To schedule a package pickup with USPS, you’ll first need to purchase a shipping label through the USPS Click N Ship. Afterward, visit the Schedule a Pickup page and enter your address information to check availability. The mail service will then let you know if it can pick up in your area and will ask you a series of questions — if you have a dog, where you’ll leave your package and when you’d like the pickup to be scheduled.

Note that pickup during regular mail delivery is free, but if you want to schedule a specific time, it’ll cost $24. After you’ve selected a date, you’ll need to fill in how many packages they’ll be picking up and the estimated weight — USPS suggests rounding up to the nearest pound. 

If your package weighs more than 70 pounds or is taller than 130 inches, they can’t accept it. You can also choose to have one of their free flat-rate boxes shipped to you if you don’t have a scale to weigh the package.

Alternatively, you can also drop off at a USPS Collection Box to avoid the crowds at the post office.

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FedEx

To schedule a pickup with FedEx, you’ll need to open a FedEx account with a username, password and your credit card information. This lets you charge your shipments with FedEx Express and FedEx Ground. Here’s a list of the shipping fees, which vary.

Next, you’ll need to create a shipping label for your package and then schedule a date for your package to be picked up. Let them know where the package will be located — for example, on your porch by the door.

UPS

If you don’t have access to a printer to print a shipping label, UPS is your best option. The carrier lets you schedule a pickup without labels and the driver will bring you shipping documents. At this time, you can’t pay with a check or money order, so you can either call UPS and give your payment information over the phone or write down your payment information on the slip the driver brings you to cover any shipping or pickup costs. Once you verify the pickup details, you’ll see the total cost of your order online. 

Once you decide if you’ll print a label or not, enter your pickup information and address. You can then select the type of UPS service you’d like to use and how many items you’ll be shipping — for example, UPS Ground or UPS Next Day Air. You’ll also need to indicate whether your package weighs more or less than 70 pounds.

Select a pickup time and let them know where to pick the package up — for example, the garage or front door. Here’s a list of shipping prices depending on which service you choose — next-day shipping is more expensive than ground shipping.

Read: Best printers for 2020

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Amazon can pick up your packages.


Angela Lang/CNET

What about Amazon returns?

If you need to return an item to Amazon, but can’t make it to a nearby Kohl’s store for an in-store drop-off, or the store is temporarily closed in your area, you can still send back a package– but it’s a bit tricky. When selecting a return, you’ll need to change the default shipping method from Kohl’s Dropoff to UPS Pickup and then select Confirm Your Return

Amazon will provide you with a return shipping label, so you’ll just need to repackage the item and set it out on your front porch or next business day pickup.

Now that you’ve safely shipped your packages, what about deliveries? Here’s how to safely order food delivery, takeout and groceries during coronavirus quarantine, what to know about coronavirus and your packages and how to get alcoholic beverages delivered to your door.

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.



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