Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, should keep your box from looking good
May 23, 2023 9:54 AM   Subscribe

My fellow Americans, it's Mailbox Improvement Week, so check to see if your box needs improvements and if you're feeling creative, here's some inspiration!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (33 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
These are impressive! I'm just thrilled every time I don't back over mine when I'm groggy in the morning.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:56 AM on May 23

You have a personal mailbox? The subdivision where I live has a master mail bank at the center, with a number of parcel boxen. They don't allow mailboxes per house anymore, and honestly, I can see why.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:01 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

My mailbox post (which I share with the house next door) had developed a strong lean forward. So, a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I re-set it nice and straight. Plopped a large, heavy rock in front of it to hopefully slow it from leaning again.

Frankly, the whole post needs replaced, but I'm not up for shouldering that cost on my own (the covenants require all posts to be rather expensive things) and the house next door is a rental, so good luck getting the property management company to help out.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:01 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

I occasionally take pictures of interesting mailboxes I see when I'm riding my bike in the country.
posted by adamrice at 10:04 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]

My mailbox is right on my house and needs to be closed every time it's used because sparrows really want to make a nest inside of it.
posted by Ferreous at 10:16 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]

BRB, asking the HOA for permission.

They said no😢
posted by TedW at 10:23 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]

Honestly though, living in a small older town where mail is still last mile delivered on foot to your house is kind of great, especially in the winter when you can reach out the door without getting fully suited up to go outside.
posted by Ferreous at 10:27 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]

I just wish I could keep birds from sitting on the house number on top of my mailbox and crapping on the box.

I guess I should go spray it down or something.
posted by Archer25 at 10:31 AM on May 23

I live on a busy road and want that Crankshaft-proof mailbox on heavy gauge metal springs

I want it to go boing oing oing when a careless driver smacks into it, flopping vigorously with momentum, a reminder that we can all be resilient to the destructive car-centric world we've designed

a wobbly if you will
posted by paimapi at 10:43 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]

I wish I could have a cool mailbox. My neighborhood is all mail slots next to the front door, with an actual mail carrier walking up and down the streets.
posted by mrphancy at 10:44 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

Our mailbox has been driven over three times I think since I moved in, so I'm not trying to invest too much into making it cute. I enjoy seeing other people's fun mailboxes though!
posted by obfuscation at 10:50 AM on May 23

Here in the front range we are inundated with miller moths and I just came back in from evicting a good dozen sleepy, cranky, fluttery things from the mailbox outside.

I consider this an improvement already but what I really want now is a wall-mounted mailbox painted like a giant bumblebee.
posted by mochapickle at 11:02 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

our mailboxes are left wide open in the wide-open lobby of my building, a thing which is honestly probably a federal crime but hey, landlords do what they want.

Shockingly there hasn't been much stolen that I know of--thieves must assume our front door locks, because that's what front doors are supposed to do. Ours doesn't. Again, landlords do what they want.

But maybe I'll go put a nice name sticker on mine, which I've been meaning to do anyhow.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:04 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

Old house: mail got delivered directly to the po box on the house. Not on the street. On the front stoop of the house.

New house: doesn't get home delivery at all! So I gotta walk maybe 200 meters to the post office and say hi to Miss Amy and get my mail from my pobox. Even with the possibility of hoo-man interaction I... kinda prefer the new way? Unless it's raining, in which case it's DEVILRY from THE VOID.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:12 AM on May 23

ooooh heeeeey phunniemee I have a job for your theropod
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:15 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]

My dad worked for South Central Bell and when he found out that the top of an old timber telephone pole with three paired rows of cross beams, each bedecked with glass insulators was being tossed, he saved it. He cut it down a bit and set it into the ground in front of our house as an oversized mailbox post.

It was bonkers but it made giving directions easy.

It was there for around ten or fifteen years after we left that house because a) it was a local landmark and b) it wasn't something you could easily take down.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:15 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]

I really like the ones that looks like books. I would be happy to do that but our current one is surrounded by bricks so it would be A Job to remove it.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:49 AM on May 23

Our mail box is an official USPS plastic bin that our carrier gave us because our mail doesn't fit through the 19th century mailslot in the door.
posted by octothorpe at 12:03 PM on May 23

Honestly though, living in a small older town where mail is still last mile delivered on foot to your house is kind of great, especially in the winter when you can reach out the door without getting fully suited up to go outside.

I don't even have to reach outside the door! My mailbox has a little door on the INSIDE of the house.
posted by cooker girl at 12:33 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]

I backed into my mailbox last week and messed up the alignment/hinges so much the door won't close and can't be easily reshaped back into alignment. My dumbass former tenants spraypainted the emergency backup mailbox blaze orange with green marijuana leaves, and while that may not be stricto sensu illegal, it's not the message I want to give, so yesterday I spraypainted it back to solid "Farm Implement" green. Apparently I need to re-re-repaint the flag a contrasting color (which if I had anymore blaze orange would be perfect, but I think the dumbass tenants used all the blaze orange). I guess the time to get it remounted is now! I'll leave my letter carrier a note wishing them a Happy Mailbox Improvement Week.
posted by drlith at 12:38 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

I think I'll stick with my 1920's Craftsman slot in the side of the house, thank you very much! (At least until someone decided to be weird and shove something untoward in it.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:58 PM on May 23

I'm game-- I need to get a flag on my box. How do you attach a flag to a mailbox encased in bricks?
posted by rubah at 1:06 PM on May 23

The only creative thing I fan do is add a sticker. We (like others in this thread) have a centralized cluster mailbox setup.

And what a cluster it is. The various HOAs (many in our area) are supposed to be responsible for upkeep of the boxes - but of course all point fingers and claim they can’t repair them. No one can build a shelter for the boxes (again multiple HOAs and the County would need to coordinate), so the cluster sits exposed and frequently gets covered in several feet of snow as the country plows race by. All the locks are rusted and many of the the package lockers are straight broken I ended up purchasing a pack of high visibility letter stickers on Amazon and applied them to all the package boxes because the hand written sharpie letters had long since disappeared and I was sick of playing the “which key opens which box” game.

Our mailbox clusters are so bad. One of the clusters a street or two over literally is being held upright by ropes tied to nearby tree trunks. I almost got into an argument on a local community forum the other day over whether WD40 or a graphite based lubricant was better for making stuck mailbox locks work. I stand by a small amount of dry graphite and that standard WD40 is not a lubricant. I will die on that hill it seems.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:30 PM on May 23

My dad worked for South Central Bell and when he found out that the top of an old timber telephone pole with three paired rows of cross beams, each bedecked with glass insulators...
Was it the first one in the SOME link above?
posted by MtDewd at 2:59 PM on May 23

Shockingly, ours was much much larger. Three times as wide and twice as tall. Six cross beams in three rows of two, most of them with 4 or 5 glass insulators on either side of the main post.

It was bananas. Picture something a little narrower than this, but with cross beams in pairs, one on either side of the pole. And then hammered into the ground, about 8-9 feet tall, with a quadruple sized mailbox attached on a lower arm.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:08 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]

I don’t have a mailbox, I have a mail slot. I think I remember reading that letter carriers hate them, but it came with the house and I’m not going to buy a mailbox.
posted by rhymedirective at 4:44 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

Several years ago, the postal service notified us that my (downtown) neighborhood is changing from a walking route to a driving route, and everyone must erect a mailbox by the curb. Only one guy did it, and it's useless because he parks in front of it. The rest of us on this street are fairly elderly. It turns out that utility pipes run under the strip of grass we are supposed to dig into. So for a couple of years now, the mail carrier drives, parks somewhere on the block, and hand-delivers to the houses. Then drives to the next block. It's the worst of both worlds for him, but I don't know what the alternative is.
posted by Miss Cellania at 4:45 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

Well, this is timely. This weekend I bought my 3rd mailbox (in less than 16 years we've had this house) because the last one has been banged up by the snowplows (rural MN) one too many times. The past year, it's been a struggle to get it to stay closed, but just recently it lost one of its hinges as well, so I figured it's time. (The first box got taken out, at only a couple years old, by the auger on a combine. Again, rural MN.) Still have to paint it and then get my brother to install it on the swinging arm, so maybe by this weekend we'll have a pretty mailbox again.

We paint our boxes purple (for Prince, not the Vikings) and did you know there are no approved flag colors that work with purple? "The carrier signal flag can be any color except any shade of green, brown, white, yellow or blue. The preferred flag color is fluorescent orange. Also, the flag color must present a clear contrast with predominant color of the mailbox." Harumph.

Oh well, if I can make my mailcarrier's life easier, I will. Don't tell anyone, because I know it's technically a violation of USPS rules, but he actually places packages inside our house if we aren't home, which is a godsend when it's windy. No, we don't lock our doors, because again, rural MN.
posted by cinnamonduff at 5:53 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

One of our regular mail carriers is kind of terrible at/hates his job and bent the door of our mailbox while wedging a package into it that was slightly too large. Now it's a chore to close, pops open on its own and is kinda leaky which isn't great with Oregon's rain. This is in addition to regularly bending things labeled "do not bend" to get them in there. One day I'll get one of the huge mailboxes to make everyone's life easier but I'm not happy about it.

Fortunately he's on our route less and less lately and our new mail carrier is lovely. She notices when our cars aren't in the driveway and leaves packages at the back door for us, delivers both or regular mail and packages to our front door when she has a package to delivery anyway and is all round just a pleasant person whenever I've spoken to her.

I'm doing something nice for her at the holidays.
posted by mikesch at 9:07 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

I have a modest hand made black painted wooden box on my porch. Like Ferreous above, I have to make sure it's always closed because it's a perfect finch nesting box. I brought home an old wooden comment box to set on a porch column for the finches.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:27 PM on May 23

Every time our mail carrier drops stuff off, our otherwise faultless boxador leaps against the window like he wants to rip his throat out. (Really he is just desperate to say hi.)

We saw him a block or so away while we were out for a walk. It seemed like maybe if they met our dog could be nicer.

"Would you like to say hi?" I asked.

From 200 feet away I could see his eyes narrow.

"I'm good."

I respected his choice.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:47 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]

USPSPSPS is what I call out to kitties.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:26 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]

I'm in a semi-rural area, mail carriers use the little trucklets. My mailcarriers are friendly, chatty, etc. Billy retired, which is a shame, he looked out for the people on his route, noticed if mail didn't get picked up, etc.

My mailbox gets knocked down by snowplows, a huge pain. Last time I rebuilt it, I added So Many Reflectors and, so far, it's working.

Make your house numbers visible. Candidates for local office want to introduce themselves, Buy Nothing folks want to pick things up. Mail delivery has substitute carriers.

Perfect timing, Brandon Blatcher. I got an almost new mailbox recently; mine is dinged up, and I want to spiff it up.
posted by theora55 at 10:09 AM on May 24

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