What Is Naked Mail?
Naked Mail is a term used to describe shipping an item “as-is”, i.e. without packaging. Usually, when we send something through the mail, we enclose it inside an envelope, padded mailer, cardboard box, or something similar. Sending naked mail removes the need for packaging.
Snail mail is already a really fun, artful, and personal way to interact with a friend or a stranger. It shows that you care and spent time on that person. It’s an extra thoughtful step in an increasing digital world! Need proof? Here are 100 reasons you can send snail mail.
Naked mail is a form of mail art that pushes the envelope (pun intended). It annoys a lot of postal workers, unfortunately, but if you pay enough in postage the USPS will mail just about anything. It also helps to make friends with your local postal workers so they are more likely to not give you a hard time about sending your unpackaged items. Here are more tips for navigating the US Postal Service.
Below are some examples of naked mail I’m sending off! A large plastic crayon tube, some foam baseball bases, a calculator, and a plastic piggy bank.
What you need to know for sending naked mail:
- You write the address you’re sending the object to directly on the object, attach an adhesive label with the address written on it, or string a tag on it with the address.
- The postage goes directly on the object as well. This can be stamps or the official printed labels from the post office.
- Regardless of if you want to use official postage labels or stamps, I strongly recommend going to the post office if your naked item is unusually shaped. You can ask them to tell you how much the postage will cost and you can add your own stamps there, if you prefer.
- If your object isn’t unusually shaped (i.e. a square, rectangle, or relatively flat item), you can use the Calculate A Price tool on USPS.com to find out how much it would be to mail your item in packaging. As a rule, for every weird thing I do, I add an extra “1 ounce” stamp, which is currently 22 cents. So if I was mailing a book I taped together and wrote the address on it directly, I would weigh it on my scale, calculate the price, and add 22 cents to that price. You can then throw that item in a public blue box. The postal service is more likely to just send an object already in a blue box than return it to you.
I’m speaking from experience in the United States, and I would love to hear input and feedback from other countries about their postal system’s policies regarding naked mail.
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Have you ever sent naked mail?