Am I required to have a physical mailbox?

Ever since online transactions have become extremely easy, secure, and common, I haven’t conducted any actual business via the US Postal Service. Literally every piece of physical mail I receive is some sort of advertisement or solicitation. Without exaggeration, I cannot remember the last physical mail parcel I received that would have had any negative repercussions on my life had I not received it, nor the last one I received which I wouldn’t rather not have received. My physical mailbox is quite literally a waste of my time. Is it legally required that I maintain one?

I suppose it’s statistically likely that I will someday be summoned to jury duty, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of another situation in which my mailbox will ever do me any good again. And I’m a libertarian who just on principle likes to tell the government to go screw itself. Can I get rid of my mailbox?


This reminded me immediately of the Seinfeld episode The Junk Mail, and according to that, you need a mailbox. Don’t even think about getting rid of it.

Which means there is a non-zero chance that the government may someday send you a letter regarding your driver’s license, or a court date or something. Somehow I don’t think they’ll accept “But I never check the mail at the address you have for me” as an excuse.

AFAIK, there’s nothing wrong with using a friend’s address as your mailing address, as long as you trust them to notice and tell you if you get anything that looks important.

Do you like golf, Mr. 10913?

(nice username/post combo BTW)

yeah, you have to put your mailing address on your drivers’ license, tax return, etc. don’t you? What would happen then if you put down a street address or similar where the Post Office does not deliver? It must happen to those guys with a cottage in the woods or up a mountain… I suppose they use PO boxes?

If you get rid of your mailbox, you might get a visit from the Postmaster General, who will tell you about how Liberty Medical can help you with your die-uh-beetis.

I have to put my physical address on my Drivers License, not my PO box. Any case, I think you need something for things like jury duty notices.

I suppose you could just instruct the post office to hold all your mail for pick up and then go in once a month or so to see if there’s anything you did actually need to get. Just leave the junk with them.

If you have a residential address—and AFAIK there’s no way not to have one unless you live at somebody else’s home and never conduct any transactions that require you to provide address information—then I don’t think there’s any way of officially removing yourself from the USPS mailing list, so to speak. If somebody can write your address on an approved item of postal mail and pay the appropriate postage, the Postal Service is legally bound to deliver it, so AFAICT that means you need to have some way to receive it.

Classic libertarian logic: get harassed by useless and annoying commercial intrusions from private businesses ==> blame the government.

You’re being inconvenienced by a bunch of unknown marketers whose pursuit of their own interests in selling names to mailing lists and soliciting potential customers overrides any concern they may have for the inconvenience and annoyance they’re causing you. And you imagine that the appropriate response is to try to hide from the mailman so he can’t do his job of properly delivering mail that his organization is paid to deliver.

Why not tackle the problem at the source by signing up for the DMA Mail Preference Service and reduce your junk mail volume? And/or start telling all those firms that you’re doing your online transactions with to stop selling your address to mailing lists?

Sure, it would be great if nothing showed up in your physical mailbox except what was personally or legally important to you, and sure, junk mail is indeed a royal pain in the ass. But your real beef here is with all the firms that keep sending you stuff you don’t want, not with the mailman just because he keeps putting the stuff they send you into your mailbox.

If you have a house that has a mailbox on it (versus an apartment, or a house with curbside mail delivery), you could put in a mail slot, or instruct the letter carrier to drop your mail between your outer door (assuming you leave it unlocked) and the inner door.

There are also businesses that will receive and forward your mail - like a private PO box with extra personal service (which you pay for, naturally). These are often used by people who are going to be overseas for some time, hiking across the country, etc. You can phone them and ask what you’ve gotten, and (I think) tell them to throw away anything that’s obviosly junk mail.

I couldn’t find a cite.

I’m pretty sure that every house or Apartment must have a mail box or slot. A lot of bulk mail is sent to “resident” at an address. The mailman will notice if you don’t have a mailbox.

There are regulations for mailboxes. You can’t use a garbage can with a sign that says “mail”. :wink:

Do you have a credit card? At some point, even if you’ve opted (as I have) to not receive statements by mail the credit card company will have to mail you a replacement card when your current card expires. This may also apply to ATM cards.

I don’t know if it was legal or not, but when I lived in LaPlata, Maryland (far south suburban DC) I rented a flat and the landlady told me “We don’t have mail boxes here” If you want to get any mail you have to go to the post office and rent a box.

Since I had no mail or bills (other than my rent and phone) I didn’t bother. I paid my rent in person and once a month I went to the phone company and paid it there. I remember when I put in the phone they went to the managers office and the landlady sent them to my flat.

The phone bill had the main office address on it. So I don’t know if this was legal or what but that’s how it was done anyway. This was early 90s

I have lived at a location where I could not have a mail box. Some towns in California have a program that sets up a small part of a school ground as a mobile home lot. If you get approval for the program, you could move your mobile on and live there with free rent, power, gas, and cable. All I had to pay for was the phone and internet. The school address was my physical address, but I needed a PO box. I occasionally got junk mail delivered to the school, but it went to the district office first and anything sent over the summer I wouldn’t see until fall.

There are also places that have no postal route. You have to go to the post office to pick up your mail. They are a lot more rare than they used to be, but if Congress allows them to, the Postal service is going to cut back on routes soon and you will see more of that.

We have ways of finding people without mailboxes.

In fact, two days ago my employer, the Census, sent me out to count people who don’t even have a residence, much less a mailbox. You don’t get a street address for the homeless people in your area, just streets (and parking lots, and fields, and…)
We are the Census. Resistance is Futile. You will be counted.**

More seriously - the census doesn’t care if you have a mailbox or not.

He’s got no choice - it’s the right thing to do.

Just because you choose to run your life via a virtual world does not mean the rest of society is adopting it, let alone moving at your fast pace. The slowest to adopt is also the most important, government. While agencies at all levels of government are implementing virtual communications, the alleged progress is not uniform in speed nor effectiveness. You can blame bureaucracy and the general nature in which government functions. But I’m also betting that some of that bureaucratic intransigence is caused by law, regulation and policy requiring a real world address of citizens. So while there may not be a legal requirement for you to have a real world address, government agencies may be legally required to only communicate with you via a real world address.

Yes you can. There is no requirement that you have a mailbox. Many residences don’t. Some folks get their mail at a cluster box, and in some rural areas there simply is no delivery… you have to get your mail at the post office. If you don’t have a box, the post office simply won’t deliver any mail. You can even refuse to accept the mail if they continue to deliver (DMM 508 1.1.2)

Whether you can function without a valid mailing address is a different question altogether. Some utilities require a residential address (ie, not a PO Box), and many business too. But if you want to live off the grid, mail is probably the least of your concerns.