Post Office Box Size Question

This may be a dumb question.... I'm doing my first post office shop. It says the box needs to be 12X12X12 or smaller... Is an amazon 1AD box (13.5x9.5x3.5) considered smaller? I'm not sure if all sides need to be 12 or less or if the overall size needs to be smaller.....
Thanks for any help!

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You add up all sides. Your total size dimensions needs to be 36 inches or less. Your Amazon box is the right size, but if it has markings on it, you need to turn it inside out and tape it back up.
You're welcome. Don't forget to take a pic of the box. I always take my photo with my phone IMMEDIATELY after I box it up, that way it's on my phone. Also, if you have a smartphone, the Mobi Audit app is the way to go with these shops, IMO.
Speaking of the pic...for hazmat shops the same box may be used many times and never mailed. Do you take a new pic for each report or re-use the same one?
I just reuse the same photo until the HAZMAT box eventually gets mailed. The one exception is if a lobby assistant puts any marks on the box, then I'll take a new pic.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I have had instances when the clerk measured incorrectly, so my advice is to err on the side of caution and keep the total at 33 inches or less.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

You add up all sides. Your total size dimensions needs to be 36 inches or less. Your Amazon box is the right size, but if it has markings on it, you need to turn it inside out and tape it back up.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Has anyone been rejected for box size? I know we're allowed to go over on weight and pay the difference... Did a shop today and the clerk got a different measurement on my box than I did, which put me just over 36" total. I wasn't sure how to handle not shipping it so I went ahead and let them mail....
I would argue with him and ask where he bought the tape measure. At K-Mart rejects?


@frostycakes wrote:

Has anyone been rejected for box size? I know we're allowed to go over on weight and pay the difference... Did a shop today and the clerk got a different measurement on my box than I did, which put me just over 36" total. I wasn't sure how to handle not shipping it so I went ahead and let them mail....
If the clerk's measurement put you into the dimensional shipping category, the shipping charge likely skyrocketed. They will probably not reject the shop but are also not likely to pay the full shipping fee. I have had incorrect measurements, which is why I stay at 33 inches or less. I have also had the opposite occur, where a box that should have triggered dimensional shippng did not.
@frostycakes wrote:

Has anyone been rejected for box size? I know we're allowed to go over on weight and pay the difference... Did a shop today and the clerk got a different measurement on my box than I did, which put me just over 36" total. I wasn't sure how to handle not shipping it so I went ahead and let them mail....

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I've never had a problem with being charged extra due to measurement and never had a shop rejected due to size being measured incorrectly.
Overall size needs to be in those constraints
Your box should be fine. But no marking on outside other than you the shipper and the addressee. I always wrap mine in brown Kraft paper
No colorful box or wrapping. Make sure you take photo of your box before you ship when it's ready to be mailed. Next, know how much it weighs. Cannot be under 1 lb. They will toss out your shop if it's underweight. Better to be over
David Hoppe, I just want to clarify for anyone that reads this later. The MSC will toss out your shop if the post office scale says the package is under 1lb. Better to be over in case their or your scale is off.

"They will toss out your shop if it's underweight. Better to be over"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2020 03:31PM by wwin.
Just go to Walmart and buy a 6x6x6 box. If it's a hazmat laptop scenario buy a (approx) 12x8x5. The MSC will reimburse for the box.
I personally find driving to a store to buy a box unnecessary and it eats into my time and profit. If I drive to the store, pick out the box, stand in line to pay for it, and drive back home, there's another 45 minutes spent on the post office shop, greatly reducing my profit margin. Oh, and then I have to wait to get reimbursed for my out of pocket expense.

I tend to pick up boxes that I can reuse when I am out and about in stores for other reasons. I can find boxes that the store was going to put in the baler and use those instead. I get them for free and can turn them inside out and tape them back up. That takes me a minute or 2 to do, and I didn't have to go out of my way to find them. Oh, yeah, and I am also being kind to the planet by reusing and reducing!!!
My latest PO hack for boxes are the boxes my Schwan's food comes in. Some are only folded together and not glued. Merely unfold, turn inside out and reuse. The link sausage box holds a 28oz of soup or a bag of rice. The breakfast biscuit box holds two bags of rice or a bag of rice and a box of brownie mix.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I personally find driving to a store to buy a box unnecessary and it eats into my time and profit. If I drive to the store, pick out the box, stand in line to pay for it, and drive back home, there's another 45 minutes spent on the post office shop, greatly reducing my profit margin. Oh, and then I have to wait to get reimbursed for my out of pocket expense.

I tend to pick up boxes that I can reuse when I am out and about in stores for other reasons. I can find boxes that the store was going to put in the baler and use those instead. I get them for free and can turn them inside out and tape them back up. That takes me a minute or 2 to do, and I didn't have to go out of my way to find them. Oh, yeah, and I am also being kind to the planet by reusing and reducing!!!

Smart. Always better to reuse and reduce.

I work for the government. We have an endless supply of boxes and packing material coming in every day. The guys save stuff for me. I haven't bought any boxes in years. We try to reuse everything since we know that China quit taking recycling last year. I keep an eye on the local Facebook and Nextdoor sites for people who need moving and packing supplies. I just gave somebody a whole carload of stuff last weekend.

I used to get the boxes from Staples, delivered to my door. I'd mail to my friends. They'd save the boxes and return them to me once a year. My kids do the same thing.
I tried the turning inside out trick but it did not work well for me. Maybe I am doing it wrong but it always feels very weak at the main side seam when I do that and it takes me forever. I reinforce over and over with more and more tape. The brown wrapping paper approach sounds like a good answer if you can buy a roll on a hazmat shop not too expensively and use fairly small boxes. But i thought i read that the post office does not want wrapped paper..perhaps because it gets caught in the machinery, Thoughts on that? My neighbor gets amazon deliveries almost every day. that would give me an endless supply of the smaller boxes. I retired from my regular job where I always found boxes.
Now my prescription mail service has changed so i don't get those poly bags I used to use. The new one sends some weird bags that have a pocket in them so they do not lay flat to fill and seal nicely.
I tape both on the inside of the box on the seam and on the outside seam, and then reinforce again on the outside of the seam after it's taped shut. Never any problems.

I do remember reading a few peoples' posts stating that they had their post offices refuse their wrapped boxes because the paper got caught in the machinery. I also have read posts from other shoppers who do it all the time and never have problems. There are other shoppers who glue their boxes shut. I have a hot glue gun and some glue sticks, but I haven't ever done that and probably never will.
sandyf, I had the same problems turning boxes inside out. The post offices in my area don't have a problem with the paper wrapping (I use paper bags) but I remember reading others that have had issues. I usually tape up the wrapped box on all sides. Since I ship mostly to myself I can remove the postal stickers easier on a taped box and reuse the box over and over. Another option to consider is picking up some of the brown shipping tape doing a hazmat job then covering box markings with that. I've done that once or twice if the markings aren't too big.
Now ur talking wwin. This idea is a wwinner. I will see if I can find that brown tape. I spend lots of times and attempt to ruin my nails peeling labels off boxes. If I just had one with a black swish on it I could cover it in brown tape.


@wwin wrote:

sandyf, I had the same problems turning boxes inside out. The post offices in my area don't have a problem with the paper wrapping (I use paper bags) but I remember reading others that have had issues. I usually tape up the wrapped box on all sides. Since I ship mostly to myself I can remove the postal stickers easier on a taped box and reuse the box over and over. Another option to consider is picking up some of the brown shipping tape doing a hazmat job then covering box markings with that. I've done that once or twice if the markings aren't too big.
If you ship boxes to yourself---what address is used in upper left corner for returns?
removing stickers and labels is a snap if you heat them up with a hair dryer for a minute or so first. This loosens the glue and makes peeling off 10x easier.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I get one of the duck bubble poly mailers from dollar tree. I did USPS shop the other day and for first time ever clerk measured it. I wondering if there enforcing this more on the clerks to measure.
Another thing is I don't like the UPS store Hazmat ones as they charge way more and always accept the package. It gets reimbursed but the extra layout sometimes is tough.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I also have noticed the clerks measuring much more often lately. Must be a point of emphasis with them.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
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