Subscription Services for Daily/Weekly Presents by Mail
October 22, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe

What are some fun things I could have delivered by mail that will satisfy my urge to have a package waiting for me when I get home?

I'm a little lonely right now, and one thing that was really brightening my day for a bit was having a bunch of packages waiting for me when I got home each day from work as I was getting different books and things for my new place. I'm aware that retail therapy is a money sink and I am trying to curtail that with other avenues of self soothing, but I love getting mail and seeing a package or two waiting outside my door every few days was just super fun. I don't want a penpal as I already have one and I sort of just want to be the passive receiver rather than an active participant in this experience.

What fun things or services could I suscribe to for a few months so I can indulge this desire for mail? I think I'd be okay with spending $10-$20 but obviously cheaper or free is better. I'm sort of envisioning Scholastic's Book Orders here I guess.

I like... Movies, TV, food, books, science, education, art, cats. (Yes. Cats.)
posted by These Birds of a Feather to Shopping (33 answers total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not already a member of Netflix, it seems like a good choice - the red envelope always makes me happy. A friend of mine was also talking recently about Amazon's new subscription service - you can have stuff you buy regularly delivered on a set schedule, like, say, a box of trash bags every 6 weeks or your preferred brand of deodorant delivered every 2 months or something like that. Maybe you can buy your personal care items online instead of at the drugstore?
posted by hungrybruno at 10:56 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Decorate your new place with some artwork from Etsy!
posted by usonian at 11:00 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about a magazine subscription or two?
posted by orange swan at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to use quite extensively. You have to send stuff out to get stuff back, but you can books relatively cheaply that way, and they come from all over, wrapped in all kinds of ways.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2012

I heard once of someone like you who would go on eBay and bid on things that were less than $1, if it went over $1 they let it go, but they'd win all kinds of crazy random things and have a common flow of packages. They ended up with some cool stuff too!
posted by el_yucateco at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Did you check out this thread?
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are lots of different trinkets, jewelry, etc on Ebay for around $1-2 and free shipping. Most of the really cheap stuff comes from China, so it takes a couple weeks to arrive (& no tracking number) - but if you forget what you ordered, it's even more fun to receive!
posted by insectosaurus at 11:04 AM on October 22, 2012

You could join Rough Trade's Album Club - they send you a different CD of a band you may not have heard of each month. I've done it. It's fun.

The magazine equivalent (unconnected) is Stack Magazines. Caution: it is achingly hipsterish: lots of low volume magazines produced by hipsters for hipsters. If that isn't you, just say no.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:04 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hear great things from some of my friends about Birchbox, which is "hand-picked beauty and lifestyle samples, delivered to your door for $10/month."

You could also get an Amazon Prime membership and just have all of your toiletries/recurring household goods delivered to your house for free. Apparently you can set up a schedule so that, for instance, you get your deodorant delivered every two months without having to actually order it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:06 AM on October 22, 2012 [8 favorites]

20 years ago back in high school I was super fond of requesting travel brochures from various tourism departments. It is much harder these days to find physical mailings since most people post their info online but you still can get beautiful magazines from assorted states' endeavors to get you to come and visit them. In particular, the ones from New England and the Rockies often have lots of pretty pictures of the environment.
posted by mmascolino at 11:10 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

On preview, the Amazon Prime membership would strike me as something that is right up your alley.
posted by mmascolino at 11:10 AM on October 22, 2012

showbiz_liz beat me to it. A bunch of stuff just shows up at the Larsons' every so often. Subscribe And Save is excellent. I used it to send peanut butter and gummy bears and such to my daughter in the dorms, and all our family vitamins and lady products and some other stuff just shows up from time to time.

If you use razors, check out Dollar Shave Club. $6.00/month gets you a nice razor handle and then 4 cartridges every month.
posted by chazlarson at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

20 years ago back in high school I was super fond of requesting travel brochures from various tourism departments.

Oh goodness, I had forgotten all about this, but yes! In middle school we all had to do projects about different national parks, and I requested and received a beautiful stack of brochures from Shenandoah National Park. I had the best poster in the whole class! This was in the mid-90s, so I'm not sure if they do that sort of thing anymore, but it's worth a shot, anyway.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I subscribe to fiction magazines (right now, Fantasy and Science Fiction -- it's been good to me so far!). Satisfies my desire to get something in the mail, satisfies my need for toilet reading, and isn't awful for my self-esteem like glossies are.
posted by AmandaA at 11:19 AM on October 22, 2012

I bought Papirmasse for a friend; am getting it for at least 1 more this Christmas. A bit more expensive than you'd mentioned, but since it's $50/year I figure it's within boundaries.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:19 AM on October 22, 2012 [11 favorites]

There are a lot of services that will send out mystery packages on a monthly basis; these are a few I turned up:

Monthly Mystery Box
Something Store
Not Another Bill
Fair Ivy

Or find something you love and see if you can get some kind of subscription. I just discovered the Madeline Tosh Sweater Club and wish I had a spare $400 sitting around. :/
posted by lilnublet at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

I haunt slickdeals especially to get ideas for stocking stuffers and other small things to have a stash of gifts on hand. Got two pairs of toddler sized Tevas for under $3 each once, for instance, and recently a couple nice lipsticks for my teenaged daughter for two bucks shipped. It's worth checking their hot deals forum once a day or so just to see.
posted by purenitrous at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2012

I hate shopping but love surprises in my mail. I got Amazon Prime last year and have not regretted it. I indulge myself in cheap books and cool stuff for the young children in my life.
posted by mareli at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2012

You could subscribe to the rumpus' letters in the mail:
posted by foxjacket at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2012 has Daily Deals, and their shipping is generally cheap (but sometimes slow).

Right now, you can get this Liz Claiborne pouch for just the ($4.99) cost of shipping or any of these strange neoprene face masks for 7.99 and shipping (Halloween costume?).

You have to filter, of course, because honestly a lot of it is cheap junk, but I've found some genuinely good stuff there, too--my son's favorite earphones ever were a $5 deal I found on Tanga, and we've gotten some nice t-shirts, too.

Oh, they also own LOLShirts, which has a $6.99 Monday t-shirt deal each week, and BelleChic, which handpicks handmade and boutique items and puts them on sale, but I haven't actually bought anything from them yet so I can't vouch for the quality.
posted by misha at 12:20 PM on October 22, 2012

Order a bunch of stuff from . It'll be a mystery when/if it arrives.
posted by thylacine at 1:05 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can buy so much regular stuff on Amazon - in particular we save a lot on doggie poop bags, Lactaids and razors. You can just order when you need to or set up "subscribe and save" which would add to the surprise element.
posted by radioamy at 1:16 PM on October 22, 2012

Once a year or so, I go through my Amazon wishlist and see which items I can buy used for less than $10. Usually, it's quite a few! I'll spend maybe $100 in total, and for the next few weeks, a dozen books make their way to my door. It's a real treat, and if I did it a couple of times a year, I'd have a bunch stuff in the mail.
posted by Clambone at 1:35 PM on October 22, 2012 has lots of fun, cheap things. They also periodically offer free shipping on orders of $10 or more.
posted by myselfasme at 5:18 PM on October 22, 2012

Response by poster: Oh man! Lots of great ideas. I already have Netflix streaming, so no need for physical discs (though that's a great idea otherwise) and I have Amazon Prime but will look into having toiletries and stuff delivered monthly or whatever as it's probably cheaper on the whole. It occurs to me that I don't want to get too many knicknacks but things like makeup, used books, and/or stuff I could theoretically regift or donate to a shelter would be awesome. I will look into everything suggested. :)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:29 PM on October 22, 2012

Do you have any food allergies? Although I do not subscribe to it, Tasterie looks pretty interesting (Via.)
posted by invisible ink at 6:39 PM on October 22, 2012

You could sign up for It requires some intensive survey taking and you are meant to be do viral marketing (i.e., talking to your friends about) the things they send you (free) in the mail. But I don't find the obligations too time-consuming, and the variety in things that arrive is pretty fun. This year, among other things, I've received packages containing a can of paint, snack food, wrinkle cream, and gum.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:10 PM on October 22, 2012

How about getting some kind of CSA box that comes to your door? I get a $20 box every week, and it's always fun to see what sort of fruits and vegetables come in that week. Plus, obviously, you can eat it all, so it's useful and doesn't end up as clutter.
posted by coraline at 12:11 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you knit, crochet or weave small items? You could get a "skein of the month" membership. Lots of indie dyers offer them;the Tanis Fiber Arts one is my favourite.
posted by third word on a random page at 2:42 AM on October 23, 2012

Would you be interested in sending as well as receiving packages? Swap-Bot has lots of different kinds of swaps (postcards, home-made items, random assortments, kawaii stuff) and is a good way to make friends and get packages.
Swap Bot
posted by LittleMy at 6:09 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

In another thread (linked above) that asked about cool "of-the-month" clubs, I learned about the Sock-of-the-Month club from It's $9 a month. I signed up and I'm glad I did. I love getting that little package, I always need socks, and the socks they've sent me are comfortable, cute, and high-quality.

Also a big vote for Stunner of the Month, which sends cool and funky sunglasses every month. I was very pleasantly surprised by the nice quality of these very funky shades. Another fun present to myself each month.
posted by Groovymomma at 8:23 AM on October 23, 2012

Groovymomma beat me to it. is amazing. I can't wait for the next shipment! (also: it's actually $11/m, but it's still wonderful!)
posted by Folk at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2012

I don't know how you feel about signing up for a Target credit card (plenty of reasons not to), but I did it so I could get free shipping (and free returns) at Then I cruise on over to the clearance section of the website and sort from lowest price to highest. Easy to find things under $10 there that you might want to come to your door!
posted by dipolemoment at 11:35 AM on October 23, 2012

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