If you ask the US Postal Service, the post office is closed on Sundays. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mail a package on Sunday. There’s a loophole, and I’ve used it myself. A lot. This can be a useful life hack.
While the traditional post offices are not open on Sunday, many USPS retail stores are open for limited hours on Sundays. You can mail a package from one of those stores if it’s open, and it will get a Sunday postmark.
Do packages ship on Sundays?
While the big, traditional post office is not open on Sundays, packages do ship on Sundays another way. The loophole is the postal retail stores.
It’s also important to note that the mail is moving on Sunday, even though the post office itself isn’t open. So there is benefit to mailing a package on Saturday or Sunday rather than waiting until Monday. If you ever travel on interstate highways on weekends and see big trucks labeled U.S. Mail or United States Postal Service, those trucks are full of packages.
So there is a way to ship a package on Sunday. It may require you to drive a little (or a lot), but you’ll get the package postmarked a day earlier, and the package will arrive about a day earlier too.
Many USPS postal stores are open on Sunday
When the US Postal Service and some questionable websites trying to look official say the post office is closed on Sunday, they aren’t counting the retail stores.
The US Postal Service operates retail stores, which it calls Postal Stores, in strip malls and traditional malls in most major metropolitan areas. These stores are smaller than a regular post office but offer the same services the post office does. And most of them are open for a few hours on Sunday, usually in the afternoon. Year-round, even. If you vaguely remember one of these stores at a once-thriving shopping mall, it’s probably still there. These stores are usually among the last holdouts in dying malls.
And when you mail a package from one of these stores on a Sunday, it gets a postmark of that date. So if you need to mail something, and it has to be postmarked before a certain date, mailing on a Sunday at one of these stores can get you an extra day. And at the close of business, a U.S. Mail truck picks up the day’s packages and takes them to the distribution center.
Technically, these stores aren’t a post office. But if they can do what a post office can do, do you care? Should you care? Probably not.
You can use the USPS Location Finder to locate both post offices and Postal Stores, and to check if the one nearest you is open on Sunday. To take two St. Louis-area examples, the one in South County Center is open for a few hours on Sunday. The one in Kirkwood isn’t open.
In years past when I did a lot of online selling, I made a trip to the Postal Store near me every Sunday.
What Post Office is open Saturday afternoons?
If you’re wondering about mailing a package on Sunday because it’s Saturday afternoon and the regular post office is closed, check the Saturday hours of nearby post offices and retail stores. My local post office closes at noon but some of the locations in nearby towns stay open longer. How much longer varies. Some stay open until 1:30 and some select locations stay open into the evening.
And the postal stores often stay open until 5 on Saturday.
Post Office extended holiday hours
During the Christmas rush, usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, some post offices will stay open later and open for a few hours on Sunday. The schedule varies from year to year, so once again, it’s best to check the USPS Location Finder to see what hours the locations near you are keeping. The holidays are far and away the busiest time of year for the US Postal Service, but budget cuts in recent years have forced it to reduce its hours from what they had been in decades past.
Things you can do at the Post Office on Sunday
While the Post Office doesn’t accept packages on Sunday, the doors aren’t necessarily locked. Usually the counter is closed off. But the area where the post office boxes sit will be open. You can also buy stamps from a vending machine, and the section that has USPS free mailing supplies will be accessible.
The mail boxes themselves are accessible, so you can mail a package with stamps on it. But packages you mail this way get a Monday postmark, not Sunday. Also be aware of the limitations on packages with stamps. Any package that weighs more than 13 ounces must be presented in person to a postal employee. The USPS won’t accept a 13.1-ounce package with stamps on it. This rule went into effect in the early 2000s due to people sending threatening packages in the aftermath of 9/11. Most letters are well below 13 ounces. Even a CD in a bubble mailer usually weighs 8-9 ounces, but anything more than a slim paperback book pushes this limit.
This may or may not fit your definition of open. The limitations on what you can mail and when it will actually get on the truck aren’t ideal. But it may meet your needs.
Also, if all you need to do is buy stamps, many convenience stores, drug stores, and office supply stores sell stamps. The USPS Location Finder will help you find those too. The USPS calls them Approved Postal Providers. If I need to buy stamps at 11pm on Sunday for some reason, the nearest 24-hour pharmacy near me is glad to sell them to me.