Dear PoP – Package Delivery

“Dear PoP,

Asking this as a new homeowner in a neighborhood where it’s not such a great idea to leave things out in front of your house while you’re not home…

When people order items through the mail, how do they receive the packages? I’m at a loss because I don’t want to have to continue to ship packages to friends who live in buildings with front desks (which is what I’ve done ever since I moved into my house). I suppose most people who live in the neighborhood just find a discrete place on their porches for delivery people to leave packages, but that doesn’t work for those of us who are unfortunate enough to have small porches without hidden areas. Is my only choice to pick the packages up at the UPS facility (a painful drive!)? I’m interested in seeing if anyone has come up with any tricks to get around this dilemma.”

A very important question, that we’ve discussed previously here and here.

While some people feel comfortable having packages delivered to their porch, I’d recommend two other options. First if you have a neighbor that is home have them sign for it and hold it for you. Second and more likely an option, and a bit of a pain in the ass if the package is big, is to have the package delivered to your place of work. Am I forgetting other options?

24 Comment

  • Hi PoP,

    Good point about having things mailed to work, which is what I used to do years ago before I got my current job in a high-security federal building. Having packages mailed to work isn’t an option for me for as long as I work here, unfortunately.

  • Basecamp on 18th Street and T NW will hold packages for you for $1/piece.

  • Definitely not the most convenient option but…

    If you’re getting a usps package that you need to sign for and you’re not home they will leave you a slip. You go down to the post office and pick it up sometime after the next day. For me this is the union station post office – 1 mile, and it’s open relatively late, so no big deal.

    If it’s UPS this sucks because you got to drive all the way out to landover. Fed Ex I’m not sure.

    • FedEx is held at that huge facility at the NY and FLA Ave intersection. But don’t try to go pick your package up during evening rush hour; it was a nightmare even before the traffic flow change.

      • I just had to have a packaged returned to the company I bought it from because Fed Ex tried 3 times to deliver my package and then sent it to their facility in Beltsville. Which sucks since I don’t have a car and work across the street from their NY Ave facility.

  • We drive out to UPS in PG to pick stuff up. It’s a pain.

  • If you have stuff shipped Fedex you only have to go to the intersection of Florida and NY to pick it up. UNfortunately, Amazon only ships UPS as far as I can tell, so I try to only have stuff shipped on telecommuting days.

  • I usually have stuff delivered to work, but in a pinch I’ve asked for the package to be placed in a discreet location at the *back* of the house.

  • I think you can get a box at the UPS store where they will hold your packages. Not sure about the cost, though.

  • I was OP last time this question was asked. I looked at a range of differennt solutions:

    1) I used basecamp first for 1 or 2 items. Nice guys, but not always convenient to drive to U st.
    2) I looked at a ton of different storage mailbox solutions to no avail
    3) This might work for you, depending on how small your porch is – it would at least fit the small stuff from amazon (books, dvds, small eletronics):

    Ultimately, I realized that the UPS guy could effectively hide stuff on the porch such that you couldn’t see it from the street most of the time, and that works well enough. But I have a decent size porch with a few objects to obscure the view.

    • Thanks for the tip. I’m going to measure my porch when I get home and see if it will accommodate the Suncast SS1000. If it doesn’t, I wonder what my chances are of convincing the UPS guy to hurl my packages over the locked privacy fence that encloses my side yard…probably the securest idea yet, but are UPS guys allowed to throw things?!

    • ah

      I’ve used one of those rubbermaid buckets for a similar purpose. I figured people would think it just contained gardening gloves or toys and other junk. Fit most packages. No problems.

    • What’s basecamp? I’d like to look into that options. It’s a pain getting things delivered to my building and Fedex always seems to be slightly behind the curve when it comes to leaving things in the bushes.

  • Open a PO Box or a Mailbox at UPS Store..

    They will hold packages for you there.

    Monthly fee, but worth the security and not going to the sorting stations..

  • Would they be able to send it to a USPS post office address? I have a small box there, and when it is a package, they just leave me a slip, and I pick it up.. but then you are dependent upon the opening hours of that post office branch.

    captcha “cru mailman”

  • Check with your local dry cleaners. The one at 17th and R used to hold our packages for $1, and I’m sure many places would do the same. In fact the UPS gal would just assume that any package destined for our building should go there if she couldn’t get buzzed in.

  • If you get a UPS Mailbox subscription, they can receive your packages and should inform you when you have one to pick it up. If it’s big, you have to go during store hours though I think. They receive packages from USPS, UPS, FedEx or anyone. The issue with USPS (Post Office PO Box) is that because they are federal, they ONLY receive USPS mail, so no packages from UPS, FedEx or other private shippers.

    If it’s only a once in a while thing, you could also ship it to a UPS Store and they charge a flat rate to receive and hold a package for you. I know this cuz my parents own a UPS Store in another state.

  • Love the idea of the rubbermaid container on the porch – seems like a good option.

    We get packages delivered all the time in Petworth and have never had a problem. That said, we are about a flight of stairs up from the street and have a lot of plants on the porch that hide anything. I realize if your porch is wide open and accessible this wouldn’t be such a good idea.

    When I lived in Mt. Pleasant, we would get packages PLUS the houseplants stolen off the porch. I really appreciate not having to worry about this anymore!

  • I have it shipped to my work address or request that UPS/FedEx leave it in my recycling bin (which is out front).

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