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Old 02-27-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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I'm moving from San Francisco to St. Louis in June and I was wondering if anyone has shipped their belongings using the US Postal Service? I'm not taking any furniture or TV (just the computer, clothes, and some personal items). What I plan to take should only be about 400 lbs. if not less. I found their 6-day shipping rate to be incredibly reasonable. I'm trying to do this move on the cheap, obviously.

Anyone use them and if so, what are your thoughts/experiences?
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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I did use the flat rate boxes for my papers, and quite a few books, and later used the flat rate for some odds and ends I couldn't manage to take in my car--all arrived safely, no boxes broken and the flat rate is not weight dependent.

But if you want to use boxes, I suggest you do a little price comparison because if I am not mistaken one or two of the other providers, like UPS, and Federal Express, were less expensive for bulk weight than the USPS.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
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I shipped my computer (desktop) using Fedex from Fla to Maine and it cost me about $100 plus they picked it up at my place. No problems at all. I thought that was very reasonable for 3 bulky boxes..I would call or check online for best prices and ask any questions you may have because their policies can change over time.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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UPS has pretty good "ground" rates for boxes, and will pick them up at your door for a minimal charge. I shipped several boxes from NYC to my son in Virginia, and they arrived safely within three or four days.
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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I too used UPS when I moved for a lot of bulk items, books, etc. When I moved in 1990 from Chicago to FL. I could ship a 75 lb. box for $25 or $27. My brother laughed at me and said, I was the only one that he knew that moved thru UPS. Everything was fine, nothing broken. It made it cheaper for me because I only got a small trailer. Hope this helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by squeezeboxgal View Post
UPS has pretty good "ground" rates for boxes, and will pick them up at your door for a minimal charge. I shipped several boxes from NYC to my son in Virginia, and they arrived safely within three or four days.
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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If you're going to ship books send them via Media Mail. I shipped about 40 boxes that way from MA to NC.
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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As someone who volunteered at my base's mail room when I was stationed overseas, my best advice is to pack WELL! The sheer volume of mail makes "kid glove" handling impossible. Parcels are manhandled in order to move the most volume of mail in the most expeditious manner. So even if your parcel is stamped "FRAGILE" there's little chance that postal workers will even see the marking, much less be able to take extra care with it. I'm VERY proud of our postal folks (AND their civilian competition), so this is in no way a slam. Just a a fact of life when shipping parcels.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:14 PM
 
338 posts, read 1,219,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bissit View Post
I'm moving from San Francisco to St. Louis in June and I was wondering if anyone has shipped their belongings using the US Postal Service? I'm not taking any furniture or TV (just the computer, clothes, and some personal items). What I plan to take should only be about 400 lbs. if not less. I found their 6-day shipping rate to be incredibly reasonable. I'm trying to do this move on the cheap, obviously.

Anyone use them and if so, what are your thoughts/experiences?
I've moved many times and have used USPS, Mail Boxes Etc., FedEX, and UPS.

I've moved driving my car, without a car (flew to AK and bought one there), and putting a vehicle in a moving truck.

I've moved South - North; North to PAC NW (AK); AK back (!) (and will be moving back, hopefully sometime this year from the Midwest); and ... for short-term assignments.

Here's what I'd recommend:

1. Ship light, bulky stuff via UPS (e.g., Bedding, clothing, linens, etc.) I did this over the holidays this year and actually just took a truck full of stuff to the site. They calculated based on weight and size of box for the cheapest rates. The heavier stuff I shipped Flat Rate USPS. You can even ship small furniture pieces with USPS - anything that will fit in one of their boxes that isn't too sentimental. (e.g., I would never ship my deceased Grandmother's handmade quilts in case something happened and the box got lost - I'd carry those with me.)

USPS has several options - ask them for a comparison. While you might not care if your coats arrive later, you might want your bedding right away. Choose what works best per box. I also found it helped when things arrived that not everything arrives at once! In a new place, it's nice to be able to open and put away a few things at a time rather than having a place full of boxes with no place left to put anything! (Esp. after a day's work when there's literally no place to sit down). Stagger-ship.

2. USPS -

a. Flat Rate Priority will ship (here anyway) in 3 box sizes which are included in the price. There might be larger ones, but they are not based on weight. I have shipped (literally) rocks, books & printed materials, work files, cast iron, and smaller household things that I didn't want to risk flying in a suitcase or flight bag. When I use USPS, I pay the extra .65 for Delivery confirmation. It's the cheapest "extra" you can add for tracking, and I have always felt that if I pay a little bit more, they'll handle it a little better. I've never had a problem. Flat Rate Priority is currently $8.95 and will arrive in 2-3 days. For truly valuable things, insurance is cheap. A good investment IMHO. Again, if nothing else, for the little bit more it costs, I find more peace of mind knowing it's tracked and that if they drop it, they pay for it. (And keep a list of what's in the box for claims purposes.) If you have nothing that valuable - then just ship without it. (But I'd still get Delivery confirmation since it's trackable online.)

b. Less bulky items and smaller heavier items (e.g., books, shoes, kitchen utensils and small appliances), I'd say... USPS standard. It'll take anywhere from 2-4 days and should cost less than USPS. But pack well and try to use double-corrugated boxes. (Liquor boxes, juice boxes, and bleach & liquid laundry soap boxes from the store are great for moving - they are made to hold heavy and/or breakable items and are free. Sometimes they even have handles cut out - use those with caution if you don't want the contents to spill out!)


I usually pad with towels and quilted items and put things in a plastic garbage bag in the box first in case the box is delivered during inclement weather - the items then won't get soaked or otherwise damaged sitting on the porch after delivery waiting until you get home.

Also, pack your address inside just in case. I have never had a box ship out damaged, but I have rec'd boxes from others who didn't pack well with the contents bagged otherwise from the P.O. when the box fell apart.

Four hundred pounds sounds like a lot for clothes, a computer, and a few household items. The climates are a bit different S.F. to St.L - have you checked to ensure you even need what you'll be taking? Anything you don't truly need, leave behind or store until you are certain you are moving to St. L permanently (if S.F. is a home-base for you or if you have family there who would store a few things for awhile until you know for sure).

If you're driving maybe you'd want to just put some of these items in your car - esp. the computer and/or anything breakable or of higher value or of sensitive nature (e.g., work and/or home files with personal info).


FedEx is the most expensive but is quick and reliable if you really need something there fast.

I'm obviously detail-oriented. Hopefully some of this will be helpful to you.
Best of everything to you in your move!

Cheers & Peace ~
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:21 PM
 
114 posts, read 764,773 times
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Thanks, JustT&Me! What a great response. You're correct, 400 lbs is probably a lot. I just did the first purge of my little apartment and I will not be taking much at all. Definitely carrying the 'puter with me and just enough clothes for a few days. I'll do the insurance thing too.

STL is a permanent move for me and luckily, I have family who will accept the staggard shipments (EXCELLENT idea!). I know I can get all my furniture on Craig's List once I get there. For a little while, we'll be on the air mattresses - moving is like in-door camping but with toilets
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Vegas Baby
542 posts, read 1,750,870 times
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Can you have the post office hold your items and you go there to pick them up? I'm moving into a condo and I can't gaurantee I will be there when they deliver. I definitely don't want my things just left outside my door.
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