How to Mail a Letter

Remember that old-fashioned tradition of writing letters and licking stamps? In case your correspondence these days is entirely electronic, here's a gentle reminder of how to mail a letter through the post office.

Fold your letter, place it in an envelope, then lick and seal the envelope.

Write the name of the letter's recipient on the front of the envelope at the center.

Print the street address, including apartment or suite number if appropriate, on the next line below the name.

Write the city, state and ZIP code on the next line. Use the two-letter state code if you know it.

Print your own name and address in the upper left corner of the envelope.

Affix one first-class stamp in the upper right corner for a regular-sized letter.

Place the envelope in your mailbox.

Raise the red flag on the mailbox, if there is one, to indicate that you have outgoing mail.

Place the letter in a large blue mailbox with an earlier pickup time if you want the letter to be on its way sooner.

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Things You Will Need

  • Envelopes
  • Writing Pens
  • Clear Tapes
  • Stationery
  • Postage Stamps


  • Make sure the envelope is sealed. If you're not sure, seal it with a short strip of clear tape.
  • If your envelope weighs more than 1 oz. or is being mailed outside the United States - or if it's larger than 6 1/8 inches by 11 1/2 inches by 1/4 inch - additional postage will be required. Use a small kitchen scale or postal scale to weigh the letter; you can find the correct rate at the U.S. Postal Service Web site (see Related Sites).
  • If you don't have a scale, take the letter to the post office to determine the correct postage if you're not sure.

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