How Long Can Mail Sit In A Mailbox? (Checked)

There is a saying that you can ignore your inbox, but you can never ignore your mailbox, which is somewhat true.

While it is very easy for us to ignore our inboxes without them affecting us, there are repercussions to ignoring our mailboxes.

You can only let your mail sit in the mailbox for a short time:

Here’s How Long You Can Leave Mail in your Mailbox:

Generally, you can leave mail in your mailbox until it is full, depending on how often you receive mail. Do not leave mail inside the mailbox for more than two days if you receive mail daily. If you receive mail less frequently, you can leave mail in the mailbox for up to a week.

What Happens if I Leave Mail in My Mailbox?

One thing that can happen is that the mail carrier may mark your address as vacant if they see that your mailbox is full due to you not checking it regularly.

If your address is vacant, you will stop receiving mail and risk missing out on important letters.

Another is that if your mailbox becomes too full, the mail carrier can place a notice that your mailbox is full. They will also hold your mail at the local post office, and you would have to pick it up yourself.

Ignoring your mail could risk you failing to pay your bills on time, resulting in your utilities being cut off. You could miss out on government forms that you may have to fill out.

Additionally, there are safety issues with leaving your mail in the mailbox. An overflowing mailbox tends to attract burglars and thieves.

A full mailbox can be an indication of a vacated house. It could lead burglars to think that the homeowners are on vacation, making your house an easy target for burglary or theft.

If I’m On Vacation, Will The USPS Keep My Mail?

When going on vacation, USPS can keep your mail. It is a service they offer, but you have to request it before going on vacation.

The USPS has a USPS Hold Mail service to keep your mail at the local post office through this service until you return. This service is good for up to 30 days.

If you are on vacation for longer than 30 days, you have to sign up for a forwarding service. This service allows you to have your mail on hold for longer than 30 days or have it rerouted somewhere else.

The latter is a good option so that someone can receive important mail on your behalf. Having your mail rerouted to someone else can help you not miss out on receiving and paying bills.

You can request these services up to 30 days in advance. You can also make your request as early as the next scheduled delivery day.

Additionally, you have to verify your identity when requesting these services for your own security.

Will the USPS Take Back Mail Left Too Long in the Mailbox?

If mail is left too long in the mailbox and the mail carrier deems the mailbox overflowing or full, the mail will be returned to the local post office.

Apart from collecting the overflow mail and returning it to the local post office, the mail carrier will also leave notes in the mailbox.

The local post office will hold the mail for up to 10 days.

The recipient can get the overflow mail by requesting redelivery but they need to fill out a form. They can also go to their local post office to claim it, but they have to bring their ID when claiming the mail.

If the recipient has not taken action to get the mail within 10 days, the mail will be returned to the sender.

Does the USPS Take Back Abandoned Mail?

Abandoned mail refers to mail with no return address.

It means that the mail has not been delivered to the recipient, it has not been claimed within 10 days, and there is no address to send it back to after the 10 days hold period.

The USPS has two ways of dealing with abandoned mail. It is destroyed if it has no value, like letters or mail.

Otherwise, it will be sent to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mail Recovery Center:

The Mail Recovery Center is also the post office lost and found. If the abandoned mail has value, it will be on hold for 90 days at the recovery center.

It will be auctioned when it has not been claimed after 90 days. A mail is said to have value if it is deemed to be worth $25 or higher.

Does the USPS Take Back Mail from Previous Homeowners?

If you recently moved into a new house that has been lived in previously, you could get their mail.

This happens when the previous homeowners fail to update their addresses.

Sure, you can ignore these, but you will keep receiving them unless you do something about it. It would be best if you never threw it out.

It will be your responsibility to let USPS know that the previous homeowners no longer live at your address.

There are a few ways you can do this:

Write a Note:

On the envelope, mark the Return to Sender, write “Not at this Address,” and place it in an outgoing mailbox. This works for first-class mail.

You can also place a note on the mailbox that says that the former resident does not live there anymore. Make sure to include their name.

Cross Out the Barcode:

Or you can cross out the barcode on the envelope.

The barcode pertains to the address to which the mail is being delivered and is being used to sort mail in postal services that use automated systems. Crossing it out indicates that the mail was misdelivered.

Leave it to the Post Office:

Once you let the USPS know that the mail was intended for previous homeowners, they will take the mail back.

The mail will either be returned to the sender or if there is a return address, it will be sent to the Mail Recovery Center. When sent to the Mail Recovery Center, they will treat it the same as abandoned mail.

An important takeaway here is never to ignore your mailbox. You can request the post office to keep them on hold if you are going away on vacation. You can also ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail.

Never ignore your mail. This is so you do not miss out on any important mail. Plus, it is for your safety.


You Can’t Ignore Your Mailbox… Or Can You?

Good Question, “What If You Leave Your Mail In The Box?”

USPS Hold Mail Service

This Is What Happens To Undeliverable Mail With No Return Address