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Consumer tips for sending holiday packages

To avoid having their holiday packages returned to sender, customers should become familiar with USPS shipping rules.

The Postal Service is offering customers tips for sending packages during the upcoming peak shipping season.

By becoming familiar with the list of prohibited shipping items and size and weight requirements, customers can avoid having packages returned to sender.

Here’s what customers should know:

Shipping restrictions: There are guidelines to keep certain hazardous, restricted and perishable items out of the mail — both domestically and internationally.

Avoid reusing boxes: Used boxes can weaken in the shipping process or hinder processing if old labels or markings are not removed or completely covered.

Size and weight requirements: Packages sent within the United States can’t weigh more than 70 pounds or measure more than 108 inches total in length and around the widest part of the package. Items sent internationally have separate weight and size requirements.

Also: Don’t use oddly shaped packages, which cost more to send because they must be processed manually.

Instead, customers are encouraged to use free Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express boxes available at Post Offices or online at

Additional information is included in a Postal Service news release issued this week.