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Old 07-02-2006, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default What is the smallest size card you can mail?

What is the dimensions of the smallest card that is US Post mailable? I would like to make smaller Thank You cards than the 4/14 - 5 1/2.

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Old 07-02-2006, 08:18 PM   #2
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maybe www.usps.gov would say???
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:49 PM   #3
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that makes me so curious now, I would love to mail a little 2" card or something. How Cute!!
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:50 PM   #4
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ok, I checked here is the answer all:

Use for envelopes with the dimensions below.
Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 3-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches
Length 5 inches 11-1/2 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 1/4 inch

Any item smaller than the minimum dimensions is not mailable.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:54 PM   #5
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It kind of looks like you could still mail something smaller, it would jsut be subject to additional postage.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:00 PM   #6
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Quote:

Originally Posted by azufelt
It kind of looks like you could still mail something smaller, it would jsut be subject to additional postage.
No, you cannot. When the Love Notes cards and envies were in the Winter Mini, there was a note in there that they were too small to mail.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:54 AM   #7
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Default Smallest Mailable

Ok woke up this morning and googled the question... here is what I found on USPS

minimum size standard
The smallest dimensions allowable for all mailable matter. Except for keys and identification items, a mailpiece less than 1/4 inch thick must be rectangular and meet the minimum criteria listed below; otherwise, it is nonmailable and is returned to sender:

At least 5 inches long
At least 3-1/2 inches high
At least .007 inch thick

I am thinking what they mean by identification items is like my ID badge for work. It says on the back "If found drop in a USPS mailbox" I wear it around my neck on a cord so they would probably be mailing me too and I am larger than these dimensions!

USPS doesnt say if extra postage is required so I am going to try it without. I have a friend in an area of Omaha that has trouble with her PO so I am going to mail her a card 3 1/2 - 5 as a test.

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Old 07-03-2006, 09:26 AM   #8
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You could just put the smaller card in a regular-sized envelope to mail it.
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:04 AM   #9
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In another post I copied off details from USPS site...

Here are the Post Office Rules...
Envelope
Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 3-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches
Length 5 inches 11-1/2 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 1/4 inch

Any item smaller than the minimum dimensions is not mailable.
For larger items, see Large Envelope or Package.
For envelopes, length is the dimension parallel to the address.

First-Class Letter Nonmachinable Surcharge:

First-Class envelopes weighing 1 ounce or less require an additional $0.13 nonmachinable surcharge if any one of the following apply:

It is a square letter
It contains very rigid items such as wood or metal
It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices
It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter
It contains items such as pens that cause the surface to be uneven
The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5

So, don't get creative and write your address parallel to the short side, include thick stuff, or rigid stuff (I wonder what the new chipboard craze will do here--definitely won't make the 1 ounce limit and will need extra postage) or uneven stuff, or make your envelopes square or close to square or really long and skinny or over the maximum size...it will cost more!

BTW, after a friend in the mailing business explained to me how mail is sorted and barcoded, I TOTALLY understood why all that stuff has a "Non-machinable surcharge".
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #10
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I had this same question. One day I was at the post office, I noticed the lady pulled out a hard plastic rectangle. It had a slit in it, 1/4" thick. I asked if there was any way to get one, and she made a copy for me. It has all the info for dimensions for standard postage! Great tool!!! I use it for a lot of the cards I send!
You can either ask for "Letter-size mail Dimensional Standards Template" or D-1050251 Rev A.
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:20 AM   #11
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I've sent the little 3x3 cards and just put them in a regular-sized envelope. No extra postage needed. HTH

Wanda
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Old 07-29-2006, 08:58 AM   #12
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The template is here on splitcoast....see this thread....

http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...dards+template
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:20 AM   #13
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What about a 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 square?
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:22 AM   #14
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Square envelopes require extra postage. Square cards mailed in a rectangular envelope do not (as long as they do not exceed weight limits.)
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:24 AM   #15
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Quote:

Originally Posted by stampinstacy2010View Post
Square envelopes require extra postage. Square cards mailed in a rectangular envelope do not (as long as they do not exceed weight limits.)

I know square envelopes are extra postage, but what about the 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 size? Is that too small?
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:47 AM   #16
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I don't know much about US postal regulations, but since I know that ours lists a minimum size I checked USPS. As the minimum size for a regular rectangular envelope is 3.5" for the shorter side I would guess that while it's non-machineable and would attract a surcharge, a 4.5" square envelope should be a permissible size.

There's a pdf file which lists various non-machineable characteristics - this link should work: https://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/manuals/qsg300/Q201.pdf

From previous threads, there seems to be such a wide variance between clerks and offices, I'd say if in doubt take it to where you'll be mailing it from and ask.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:22 PM   #17
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cook22View Post
I don't know much about US postal regulations, but since I know that ours lists a minimum size I checked USPS. As the minimum size for a regular rectangular envelope is 3.5" for the shorter side I would guess that while it's non-machineable and would attract a surcharge, a 4.5" square envelope should be a permissible size.

There's a pdf file which lists various non-machineable characteristics - this link should work: https://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/manuals/qsg300/Q201.pdf

From previous threads, there seems to be such a wide variance between clerks and offices, I'd say if in doubt take it to where you'll be mailing it from and ask.

Great information. Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:44 PM   #18
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jeanne3579View Post
What about a 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 square?
UPDATE: see post #23. The info about min/max height is only for rectangular envelopes, not square. So what I wrote beneath this does not apply.

It seems like no, since according to the chart, the 4.5” height is good since it’s more than 3.5 inches. But 4.5 is less than the minimum length of 5 inches.

Height 3-1/2” minimum / 6-1/8” maximum
Length 5” minimum / 11-1/2” maximum
Thickness 0.007” minimum / 1/4” maximum

If it was accepted - nice clerk? - it would cost more since it’s square.

Last edited by bjeans; 12-29-2018 at 07:12 AM.. Reason: new info
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:11 PM   #19
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I did mail a smaller than usual square ( hmm I do not have any left) but, it was less than 5" and so, it took two regular stamps and one additional ounce stamp to mail it across town. ( a fairly flat card with no real lumps) I am guessing it was 4 1/2" square. ( the card, the envelope may have been a smidge larger) it was a paper bag style package of pre made bases with envelopes from Hobby Lobby this year. ( their brand)

(but, I do not have any left to measure them)
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:44 PM   #20
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JBgreendawnView Post
I did mail a smaller than usual square ( hmm I do not have any left) but, it was less than 5" and so, it took two regular stamps and one additional ounce stamp to mail it across town. ( a fairly flat card with no real lumps) I am guessing it was 4 1/2" square. ( the card, the envelope may have been a smidge larger) it was a paper bag style package of pre made bases with envelopes from Hobby Lobby this year. ( their brand)

(but, I do not have any left to measure them)

The smallest envelopes they show on line (other than really little ones) are 5” square, and some come with cards. For example, they have 4-3/4” square pre-folded cards that come with 5” envelopes.

That makes sense since they could get a lot of complaints if they sold envelopes people assumed could be mailed that might not be accepted.

Last edited by bjeans; 12-29-2018 at 03:18 AM..
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Old 12-29-2018, 05:02 AM   #21
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Thanks, bjeans! I'll see what happens at the PO!
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:50 AM   #22
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Huh. I'm pretty sure I've mailed 4 1/4" square cards in hand made envelopes, which were probably 4 1/2". I know I put extra postage because of the shape, but now I wonder if those cards ever arrived at their destinations. None have ever been returned to me.
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:06 AM   #23
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Maybe since they’re square and a premium is paid they let smaller sizes go through.

Oh look - the info that’s been given applies to *rectangular* envelopes only. See beneath the chart it says to be eligible for mailing at the price for letters, a piece must be: rectangular - and then gives the dimensions?

So the chart doesn’t even apply to square envelopes. And you pay a premium. But I wonder how small the squares can be?

DimensionMinimumMaximum
Height3-1/2 inches6-1/8 inches
Length5 inches11-1/2 inches
Thickness0.007 inch1/4 inch
To be eligible for mailing at the price for letters, a piece must be:
  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick.
  • No more than 6-1/8 inches high x 11-1/2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick.
First-Class Mail letters that have one or more nonmachinable characteristics will pay a nonmachinable surcharge. Customers can be unpleasantly surprised that they must pay extra postage when, for example, they mail a square greeting card. The Postal Service charges extra postage because mailpieces that are rigid, square, or unusually shaped, often jam postal equipment and are difficult to process. This costs the Postal Service time and money—and may also damage your mailpiece.

Last edited by bjeans; 12-29-2018 at 07:13 AM.. Reason: Found info
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:20 AM   #24
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I did ask about the 3" cards envelopes once and they told me no, they were too small to mail to put those into say A2 sized envelopes to send them.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:35 AM   #25
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It says here (when you buy them) that you cannot mail a 4x4" square envelope.
https://www.envelopes.com/invitation...b-bright-white

And here it says when you buy 4.5" square envelopes, you cannot mail them.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P6R24WO..._t1_B010TPKWDA

Based on the guidelines on the USPS website, I would say the minimum square size you can mail is 5x5 because one side (length) must be at least 5 inches.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:12 AM   #26
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I agree, and wonder if some clerks just let them slip by. I’m going to ask at the post office next week.

Being curious about why square envelopes can’t be machine sorted, a clear explanation from envelopes.com:

According to the USPS website: Rectangular envelopes are able to be processed via a sorting machine. The envelope is grabbed by on one of it’s longer sides. The machine then locates the stamp which will be either on the upper right corner or, if the envelope is upside down, on the lower left corner. The machine will then rearrange the letter (takes up to 2 motions) to read the address and route the envelope properly.With a square envelope, there is no long side for the envelope to automatically land on.

The machine would have to take more steps to get it adjusted properly in order for the machine to read it. Since the Post Office sorts so much mail, it is easier for the machine to simply remove the square envelope from the sorter. At that stage, it is necessary for a human to manually enter the address into the system so that it may be routed to the appropriate Post Office. A human dealing with entering an envelope manually costs the Post Office ten times more than what it would cost if the envelope was machinable. Thus, the additional cost for square envelopes.”
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:44 PM   #27
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Interesting information, thanks for sharing that. Guess I'll go back to using A2 envelopes on the few occasions I make 4 1/4"square cards, though it isn't nearly as nice a presentation as an envelope that actually matches the card size.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:53 PM   #28
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cjzimView Post
Interesting information, thanks for sharing that. Guess I'll go back to using A2 envelopes on the few occasions I make 4 1/4"square cards, though it isn't nearly as nice a presentation as an envelope that actually matches the card size.

I so agree matching the card shape with the envelope is a prettier presentation - so how about 5”x5” square envelopes for your 4-1/4” cards, if we find out that smaller than 5” really isn’t okay and some clerks are just letting them slip by if a little smaller? (If that’s the case I wouldn’t want to risk it either.)

That’s less than 2/5ths of an inch extra space on each side, and you’d have a little open space even with the right size envelope.
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Old 12-29-2018, 03:11 PM   #29
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How about putting the small card in a gorgeous matching envelope, then put this envelope into a standard envelope for posting. The recipient gets to open it twice...YAY.
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:28 PM   #30
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Susie and bjeans - I love both of your suggestions, TFS!
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:02 PM   #31
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I went to the PO to mail an A2 card in an envelope I had made (with the Scor Pal triangle). The clerk laid it on the scale, not to weigh it, but to measure it. She told me the height of the envelope was out of proportion to the width, and it cost extra to mail.

It was rectangular, not lumpy, not over 1/4 ounce. It was 1/4" too tall for the width according to the clerk. Last time I ever mailed a handmade envy from the PO. Now I just put them in my mailbox, and have never had a problem.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:11 PM   #32
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Quote:

Originally Posted by uncbballfanView Post
I went to the PO to mail an A2 card in an envelope I had made (with the Scor Pal triangle). The clerk laid it on the scale, not to weigh it, but to measure it. She told me the height of the envelope was out of proportion to the width, and it cost extra to mail.

It was rectangular, not lumpy, not over 1/4 ounce. It was 1/4" too tall for the width according to the clerk. Last time I ever mailed a handmade envy from the PO. Now I just put them in my mailbox, and have never had a problem.
Did you make the envelope 4.5x5.5? If so, then the aspect ratio (length/height) was too small. It was 1.2222 but it has to be at least 1.3. Otherwise, it's too square.

And just because they haven't been returned to you doesn't mean that there wasn't an issue. I've gotten a couple of cards or packages from other SCSers that have come with postage due. Since I have a change jar on the counter, I just pay the 21 cents or whatever and get on with my life, especially if the mailman leaves me a collection envelope instead of making me go pay it in person at the post office.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:14 PM   #33
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Emily, I didn't measure it. This was a couple of years ago. I was surprised to learn it was out of proportion because I wasn't aware (at the time) such a requirement existed. I wonder if the envelope punch board is more accurate...
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:23 PM   #34
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So the only way to know for sure if there was an extra charge is to ask the person you sent it to?
Yikes. I need to double check on the front end I guess.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:33 AM   #35
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Wow, I have obviously sent some cards in non-conforming sizes according these last few posts - ugh! Sometimes I let the image I'm using take the lead and the ending size of my card can be all over the map. Then I just make an envelope with my board as close in size as I can. I hate to think I've sent out cards with postage due. Guess I'll just start slapping the extra ounce stamp on envelopes I'm not sure about.
One more comment - I never take my cards to the P.O. - I've heard too many stories of how picky some clerk's are.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:24 AM   #36
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I have several times received envelopes from the UK (never from the US!) marked postage due, but I've never been asked to pay it, it's just stamped on the envelope. And I think it's usually because the person had put a second class stamp on and they probably don't apply out of the UK.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:55 AM   #37
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I don’t mind postal workers following the rules. Uniformity would be nice. I think it’s more problematic for them to let some envelopes slip by that should not, so person who sent them of course assume that they’re fine - and may tell others. So those people figure it’s okay and do the same thing with the result of some recipients having to pay postage.

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Old 12-30-2018, 10:58 AM   #38
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cook22View Post
I have several times received envelopes from the UK (never from the US!) marked postage due, but I've never been asked to pay it, it's just stamped on the envelope. And I think it's usually because the person had put a second class stamp on and they probably don't apply out of the UK.


Then who pays? No one? I’m confused.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:06 AM   #39
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When we get a card with postage due, it comes with a note that says to pay our delivery person. When we used to get mail at a PO Box, that was easy. Now that it is in a neighborhood cluster box, we just attach the money to the card and put it back in the box where they will find it, unless we happen to see her filling the boxes, then we can hand it to her. It's been a while, but I think I remember them saying the delivery person would bear the brunt, if we didn't pay.
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