One of the more interesting facets of moving into a rural setting is mail delivery. If you’ve never had a country mailbox, there are a few things you should know!
This is the way the mail makes its way to your mailbox. If your property is not part of a subdivision or you are using a private road to access your property, you may need to coordinate with your local municipality and post office to determine the correct address. Depending on local ordinances, you may have limitations for naming your private roadway. The numbering will need to conform with 9-1-1 regulations so that emergency vehicles can locate your home quickly. The standard for 9-1-1 numbering is the house number equals the distance in feet from the public road divided by 1000. So if your home is 2400 feet from the main road, your house number should be 24.
Official US Postal Service regulations call for a height of between 41 and 45 inches measured from the bottom of the box to the surface of the road. The positioning relative to the edge of the road is important as well, with regulations calling for 6 to 8 inches from the road edge to the door of the mailbox. But as anyone who has lived with a rural mail system knows, check with your postal carrier for his or her ideal location. You’ll want to nurture a positive relationship with your carrier or you may be trekking to the main post office frequently.
Mailboxes and Posts
There are many USPS approved styles of mailboxes and posts on which to mount them. Here too you’ll need to take stock of your own mail habits and tendencies when determining size and style.
The USPS requires that posts must give way if struck by a vehicle, so you’ll need to balance that requirement with the structural strength to support the box. If your country road is marked by victims of “mailbox baseball,” you may want to do a trial run of an inexpensive box before investing in a high-end or custom-designed box.
How big should the box be? If your mail is primarily letters and a small amount of catalogs, you can usually get by with the standard size. If your mail includes small parcels or boxes on a regular basis, you may want to consider a larger version to save your carrier a trip to the door.
If you live in a colder region, review snow clearance with your carrier before the winter season starts. If you’re not keeping up with access to the mailbox, you’ll receive a friendly reminder in place of your mail. In spring and summer, you may want to lay a good layer of gravel on a soft shoulder to keep ruts and puddles from developing.
Mailboxes of all sorts are available from local retailers and online. If you’re extra “house proud,” check out this cedar log house mailbox from MailBoxWorks.com with optional cedar post. You’re already in tune with the amazing durability of cedar for your log home, so it could make sense to select a mini cedar log home for roadside appeal.
Another nifty unconventional mailbox was this one that decorates the box with any photo you supply. A pretty landscape or your favorite pet, this photo mailbox is a unique way to collect your mail.
Or if rugged practicality is what you’re looking for, these heavy duty mailboxes from mailboxes.com will do the trick.