How to Install a Mailbox

If it's time to replace your old postal receptacle, make sure you give it a sturdy support system. With diagrams for attaching the mailbox to the post arm, building a lifting arm, and installing a metal plumbing pipe post.

| October/November 1992

Perhaps you've never thought about how to install a mailbox. Or, if you have, you've imagined a frustrating process that would take up too much of your time. Well, if you do decide to install a mailbox on your own (or ask someone who has), you'll find that while there's quite a bit of a planning to do, it's not so difficult after all—and you'll have the benefit of admiring your work every time you pick up the mail.

When our country lane was raised a foot and paved, the roadside RFD mailbox proved too low for the motor-carrier to reach, especially with New England snow plowed up around it. We decided to replace both the rusty metal box and rickety wooden support post, and faced decisions that all country people make.

Choosing Your Mailbox

The first step is choosing the actual box, and you'd be surprised at all the options open to you. However, there are some rules of thumb which can make deciding easier. First, decide on the material. The sturdiest boxes available to you are domed, galvanized, sheet-metal boxes, but be warned—they will begin to rust after about five years if they're not repainted. Plastic boxes, on the other hand, will break easily but won't rust. So it basically comes down to an honest assessment of your character—if you're not real lazy, then go for the sheet-metal.

As for box size, you will need to determine what kind of mail you receive most often. A small-size box is fine for a low-volume of first-class mail and a few magazines now and then. A mid-size box is a better choice if you receive a lot of periodicals or small parcels; and the giant-size is best suited for those who shop regularly by mail. If there's any doubt, opt for the larger size—mail carriers hate having to cram your mail in the box (as much as you hate receiving it that way). Often they'll leave a "Box at P.O." note if a package is too big, and believe me, it's a real nuisance to have to drive down to the post office every time a shipment of new checks comes in or L.L. Bean has refurbished your gum boots.

Customized mailboxes are fine, so long as they're within the limits of postal regulations and local sensibilities. Flowers planted around the post base, or a flower box attached behind the mailbox, will delight almost everyone. So will images of flowers and animals, or old-time stencils—anything that is country-natural. Those colorful plastic sheaths with sailboats, deer, or ducks on fiberglass-domed boxes can proclaim your favorite outdoor sport. A model of your house or barn can make a good mailbox if it is built sturdily. And you can make a mailbox of an old nail keg or bee hive, as long as it's weather-tight, has an easily-opened door, and will support an easily-rotated flag.

If you're a newcomer to the area, do consider your neighbors. Not until you're an established member of the community does your mailbox lose social significance. When Harvey, the local dairy farmer, took a wife 30 years his junior, he sent eyebrows (even farther) up when he adorned his mailbox with a model of a big, masculine Holstein bull. Frowns turned to smiles a year later when the box was adorned with a bunch of blue balloons to announce the birth of his son.

Roselyn T
5/16/2009 2:49:39 AM

Sending letters are still being observed by the people even if there are still other ways of communicating more easily than snail mails only that new postage rates are out, and it's no surprise that the new postage rates are going up. Anyone with a large backlog of stamps is going to need a bunch of increment stamps to cover the difference, or just order a bunch of new ones. Stamps have gone up to 44 cents from 42, but the weight fees remain the same – just 17 cents per ounce after the first ounce. It still means you won't need no fax payday loans for your simple letters – yet – but a lot of people will want to get forever stamps, or stamps that are accepted as payment regardless of what the postage rates are, or the debt relief you need from buying them. Visit and learn more at :

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard