It might seem like a simple thing, but snail mail can produce a serious amount of angst. Whether you’re frantically searching for the least cheesy bday card, putting off sending that thank-you note because you haven’t owned a book of stamps since college, or never quite getting an online-shopping return in the mail in time for a refund, the consequences are real. Luckily, all of these stressful scenarios can be banished with a little prep work. Plus, according to none other than The New York Times and David Sedaris, real mail might just save us from the overwhelm of social media and constant email contact.
Devoting a little time to stamping out a mail-supply kit so you’ll have everything you need at the ready will seal the deal on you actually getting those things sent. And, speaking of stamps, even if you’re not a collector, it’s easy to get excited about some of the special-issue prints released recently by USPS, like these gorgeous Ellsworth Kelly options and a set devoted to Sesame Street. You can even create your own custom versions with pictures of your pets, fave vacation photos, or shots of your new baby (you know you nailed it when the recipient can’t bring themselves to throw out the envelope!). Oh, and by the way: The next time you’re at a post office, stock up on a handful of Priority Mail packaging supplies—they’re totally, completely free as long as you use that mail service, and you can print a shipping label from home online.
Another must-have is a stack of cards that you can use for a handful of different scenarios. This brilliant designs is made to be a choose-your-own-adventure lifesaver, but a stash of pretty, blank-on-the-inside ones will do the trick, too.
When it comes to shipping bulkier packages, it makes sense that you might not want to keep anything much bigger than tape or a flat-fold box on hand, but know that Mushroom Packaging is there for you should you need padding to send something bulkier or fragile. It not only works well and looks nice, but it’s also made from dried fungus and is completely biodegradable.
And if all else fails? Services like Handywritten will have someone pen a card and drop it in the mail for you—no additional thanks necessary.