SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Have packages you want to send off for the holidays, but you don’t want to get them damaged, lost, or stolen? The USPS has some tips to make shipping a breeze.

Triple-check that address

You can never be too careful and it’s best to check it multiple times, said Rod Spurgeon, Public Information Office for the USPS.

“Triple-check that address to make sure. If it’s an apartment complex, put the apartment number on it. If it’s Apartment 2B, put Apartment 2B,” Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon also cautioned to never guess a ZIP code. “If you put the wrong ZIP code on there, it may not reach its destination.”

He suggested when looking up a ZIP code, get help from the USPS.

What if my address label is damaged?

If the label is damaged or falls off during shipping, the package may become lost. To avoid that, Spurgeon suggested copying the ‘to’ and ‘from’ addresses on a separate paper and slipping them inside your box. That way, if anything happens to that label, USPS can simply open the box and check for the address inside.

Skip the wrapping paper

It’s the holiday season, and so it may be tempting to deliver a package all dressed up for the holidays, but Spurgeon said this is a big “no-no.”

“It tears so easily, and if you put a label on the wrapping paper it might not make it to its destination,” Spurgeon said.

He suggested that if you want to wrap the gift, wrap the gift, then place the gift inside another unwrapped box to protect that paper.

“And don’t put string on a box either!” Spurgeon said. “Or a bow on your package. All that might get caught in our automated machinery.”

Spurgeon also suggested using strong packing tape around boxes to ensure safety.

Put your mail on hold

Gone for the holidays or otherwise out of the house for several days? Put it on hold. That way, when you get back in town you can come to the post office and pick up any mail or packages that were sent to you.

“We’ll keep all your mail and packages nice and secure at our office. You can come pick them up, you can get them from behind the counter, and we’ll go ahead and get that over to you. And that’s an awesome thing,” Spurgeon said.

Putting your mail on hold is also a great way to keep your items safe, Spurgeon said.

“If package thieves are going around your neighborhood, taking a look at homes, they may see [your package], so get your package as soon as possible,” Spurgeon said.

Another way at avoiding package thieves is to choose “informed delivery.” Simply sign up for the free service, and USPS will let you know when your package is delivered and when you can expect it.

Have delivery instructions?

If you have a package coming to your home and you have a spot you like to place your mail, tell your delivery carrier.

“If you want that package behind a column or behind a bush or maybe you have some kind of container outside of your home that you want us to put that package, then go to our website. Type in your tracking number, then you can select ‘delivery instructions.’ It’s a very powerful tool,” Spurgeon said.

Don’t forget your shipping date!

Keep these shipping dates in mind, so your package isn’t delayed:

  • Overseas and Military – December 9
  • First Class and Ground – December 17
  • Priority Mail – December 19
  • Priority Mail Express – December 23