You’ll be mailing packages for the holidays soon, and the USPS says knowing the guidelines is essential.

INDIANAPOLIS — You may not be thinking about shipping holiday packages just yet, but the United States Postal Service wants customers to plan ahead to avoid having items returned to sender because they didn’t meet requirements.

USPS says the local post office can always provide information about restrictions. They also point to Publication 52where regulations about hazardous, restricted and perishable mail is listed.

It’s not an all-inclusive list, but here are some of the things you can’t send through the mail:

  • Liquor
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Mercury (including items which contain mercury such as thermometers)
  • Gasoline

There are items that may be permissible to mail if you follow specific guidelines. Among them: 

  • Alcohol (any kind, including hand sanitizer)
  • Perfumes/colognes (they are generally made with alcohol)
  • Aerosols
  • Lithium metal batteries (non-rechargeable/rechargeable, used to power flashlights or laptops)

Again, you’ll want to check for a complete list from the postal service.

The USPS is also suggesting care if you’re re-using boxes, since they can weaken during shipping. Make sure that old labels are removed or completely covered. It’s especially important to remove old markings that refer to restricted, prohibited or hazardous materials. 

USPS reminds customers that there are weight and size restrictions for packages. Items can’t weigh more than 70 pounds or measure more than 108 inches. Don’t overpack a box. There’s a risk of injury to postal employees if a package breaks. 

Items with international, APO, FPO and DPO locations are subject to more restrictive size and weight standards. There’s more information on their website and their international page. 

Much more information is available at the USPS Holiday Newsroom.



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