Moving with Mail
January 1, 2004 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Frequent moves and physical mail. Instead of using mail forwarding and address change cards, is there a better way to handle physical mail for someone who moves frequently? (More inside)

I move a lot and would like to have an easier and more efficient system of getting physical mail to my new locations. Mail forwarding is good, but I eventually have to change the address with the company or person who is sending me correspondence. Likewise, when I do use address changes, I have to rack my brain trying to remember every place to give my new details. A post office box seems the right solution, except some places won't deliver packages and items to a POB. I've used the stable address of a relative in the past, having them forward to me, but that's a burden for them and I would like to get a "permanent address" once and for all. Any suggestions?
posted by cyniczny to Law & Government (8 answers total)
you could use a MailBoxes Etc or somewhere like that as an address--they'll take packages and I believe if you pay them extra they'll forward everything.
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on January 1, 2004

I use a Mailboxes, Etc. box since I, too, move a lot. In Portland, it's around $50 for 3 months for a medium sized mailbox (enough space to let mail pile up for several weeks in between checking it). They can sign for packages, too, which is a great help.
posted by cmonkey at 3:46 PM on January 1, 2004

Depending on your cost tolerance and tech savvy there are a few services like . They take your physical mail and convert it to digital. They scan and shred your physical mail and deliver it to you securely and digitally.

Check out the site or google the name for similar providers.
posted by rudyfink at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2004

yes, I'm "savvy" myself Paperless PO Box
posted by rudyfink at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2004

My brother, a frequent mover as well, advises to go the PO box route. It's handy if you move around a lot in the same general area, and even if you leave your province/state (like he did) you can just get the PO box people to forward. Of course, that has extra monthly costs as well, but overall he says he's had no problems outside of anything you might normally encounter when dealing with the postal service.
posted by Monster_Zero at 9:31 PM on January 1, 2004

I once worked at a Mail Boxes Etc (now "UPS Store"--apparently Kinko's will become the "Fedex Store"). We had several customers who rented mailboxes for forwarding. In fact, some didn't have physical mailboxes at all--they were strictly "will call."

Any "commercial mail-receiving agency" or CMRA (as they're technically called) can do this for you. It would be a good idea to check out a few different ones and find one with an enthusiastic and flexible operator--some stores will be more accommodating than others.

This will be more expensive and less convenient in some ways than a PO Box. A box with a CMRA may cost 10x as much as a PO box. And you need to pay regular postage (or UPS, or whatever) charges to have your mail shipped on to you. The way we did it at my store was to take a deposit from the customer, and then ship a package of mail whenever they called or every week/month/whatever.

It should come as no surprise that scam artists love CMRAs. Postal regs will require that you provide two forms of real ID when signing the CMRA contract.
posted by adamrice at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2004

I juggled a few post office boxes for a while and it was really a hassle getting street addresses and PO box addresses straight for people who needed to send UPS/Fedex packages versus USPS packages. Also, some people really have a hard time understanding how you could not have a mailbox at your house, or who don't understand UPS and Fedex's refusal to deliver to a PO Box. PO Boxes are good in that they're not too terribly expensive, you can accumulate a large amount of mail there [although sometimes they try to jam it all in the box] and I've had pretty good luck dealing with mine via phone from 3500 miles away when I had questions or issues. Forwarding is as simple as filling out a form if you're going to be someplace else, and I've forwarded my mail from some boxes -- even to other PO boxes -- for eight months with no problems. The downside is, yeah, UPS deliveries had to go to a different place and sometimes I would have people who said they'd sent me something USPS when really it was UPS and those things took a while to unravel.

The people that use/need this sort of service, believe it or not, are the US's hoard of seniors who live in or extensively travel in their RVs. There are tons of services set up for them that will do this. Here are a few links, one to a list of such services and an example of one with rates attached etc. I assume this page is an advertisement for USA Box, but it does have a comparison chart that lets you know what kinds of services are available for mail forwarding.
posted by jessamyn at 10:57 AM on January 2, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the ideas, everyone -- very helpful!!
posted by cyniczny at 9:36 AM on January 6, 2004

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