There used to be a time when letters were part of our daily lives. Receiving a letter from loved ones meant happiness. Everyone used to write letters because it was the only way to show people that you cared about them.
There is now an entire generation that may never know the joy of going to the mailbox to retrieve a holiday or birthday greeting card from grandma. Once upon a time, everybody knew how to write a letter and address envelopes. Though letters are used in a more official capacity these days, it’s still important to know the proper way to send parcels, aka “snail mail.”
One of the most common mistakes people make when addressing envelopes is using a nickname instead of a legal or full name. Should the envelope get lost, the legal name is what’s used to help locate it and, hopefully, get it where it needs to go. The name should always go on the first line of the address block, which we address below (no pun intended).
A standard address block should follow the following format:
David William (Full Legal Name)
XYZ Main St, Building A, Apartment 3 (Full Address Including Building and Apartment Information)
New York, NY 00000 (City, State, and Zip Code)
Though there are different models practiced for apartment addresses, it’s best is to write everything out Some abbreviations are okay such as shortening ‘apartment’ to ‘APT’ and using your state’s abbreviated name (NY instead of New York). Any abbreviation you used should be an officially recognized one, not one you made up.
Those with little experience in properly addressing envelopes make the most common mistake of extending the address to the second line:
XYZ Main St, Building A,
New York, NY 00000
This practice is discouraged because the post office now uses automatic scanning machines during the sorting process and is not programmed to read additional street information beyond the second line. This could result in shipping delays.
Sometimes extra information is needed to ensure the letter gets to where it’s supposed to go. In those circumstances, the second line of the address is dedicated to special designators if someone has to send a letter in “care of” someone else.
The remaining address block would be written as normal:
℅ Jacob William
XYZ Main St, Building A, Apartment 3
New York, NY 00000
Another common mistake people make is only writing the recipient’s information and not including the sender’s information. The sender’s address is crucial should the letter get lost or if it’s undeliverable and needs to be returned. Also, make sure your letter contains sufficient postage to ensure it gets to its destination.
The postage (or stamp) is basically the payment for transporting your letter, and with heavier envelopes and small packages, one stamp isn’t enough to cover the shipping costs. When in doubt, take your letter to the post office or a shipping center and ask a representative.
You are always sending important emails, sometimes official documents, and other times valuable items. It is for your good to follow the instructions so that the mail can be delivered to the right location. Plus, with the increased use of artificial intelligence with manual processes, it’s necessary to ensure machines can see and properly process the information on the label.
Unless it is specifically required or if it assists in locating the correct location, it is not always necessary to include the name of the apartment complex or building in the address.
If your apartment is located on a specific floor of a building, you can include that information in your apartment address. You can use abbreviations such as “Fl” or “Floor,” followed by the floor number.
On the off chance that your loft doesn’t have a particular condo number relegated, you can basically preclude that piece of your location.
The recipient’s phone number is rarely included in the apartment address. Mailing addresses typically do not include phone numbers.
Writing letters may have become less popular thanks to email, texting, and instant messages, but it’s still important to know the basics.