SHIPPING AND POSTAGE STUFF. HOW DO I DO IT?

Get ready for a boring one folks because this is going to be all about shipping and postage stuff! Who doesn't LOVE that?

If you are like me, you are completely and utterly confused by everything involved with the magnificent MACHINE that is THE postal service - specifically the United States Postal Service because that is the part of the world where my meat vessel currently takes up space. When I say "utterly confused" I mean, I had to double check with my boyfriend to make sure I was putting stamps in the right spot on the package. I am a big dumb idiot so I assure you this will be TOTALLY COMPREHENSIVE to everyone! Oh also it's just a 3 step process so don't get scared.

STEP 1: OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DON'T GO TO THE POST OFFICE!
Holy crap PLEASE learn from my mistakes. When I finished up my Kickstarter stuff, I thought it would be cute to just take my box of 50 or so packages (humble brag) to the local post office and just hand them over to the clerk, pay my postage fees and be on my merry little way! OH NO THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED. Allow me to full recount my experience for your enjoyment. Please join me in this terrible flashback. 

So my boyfriend and I walk into an empty and TINY post office and see just one woman working the counter. I think to myself "omg how quaint! We are the only ones here this is amazing" and step up with my box of stuff with a smile on my stupid face ready to begin this very simple and quick transaction. The woman working, who was very friendly and very chill, proceeded to weigh my two different sized packages and slowly began doing, what seemed to me to be very complicated postage math in her head, while I stood there feeling my face get warm as people started filing into the tiny post office. About ten full minutes pass and in front of me is a growing pile of mismatched stamps. Finally the woman finishes and tells me very quickly, some nonsense like "place 3 of these stamps and 2 of those over here and 4 of these for the big ones and 3 of those and 2 of these for the small ones and if I run out I can use 1 of these and 1 of those as long as it all equals out to this number then it will be fine." So now I'm in a full sweat and my face is as red as my stupid red face can get and I ask her to repeat that so my tiny brain can soak in as much fake postage math it can. I throw all my stuff back in the box, scoop up my pile of expensive money stickers, grab my 5 customs forms for my international orders and scurry off into the TINY hallway to begin the stamping process with my stupid sweaty fingers. My boyfriend and I stamp away as her weird instructions are finally making sense and we get everything stamped and the triplicate customs forms filled out in about a half hour and we head back to the front desk but NOW there is a line and still just that one woman working. It is no longer quaint, this has become my hell prison. Another 10-15 minutes pass and we reach the front. Thank god I got the stamps figured out correctly and the forms are done correctly and I hand it all over. WOO the domestic stuff is done, but now it's time for her to MANUALLY ENTER ALL THE CUSTOMS FORMS?? Getting through all 5 forms took about 20 minutes all while I had a line of 10 customers behind me staring daggers into the back of my head. Finally she finishes and everything looks good and she gives me the total owed and it was well over $200. I pay and as we head toward the door I can feel the curse of the post office finally leave my bones as we exit that godforsaken nightmare never to return again.

So what did we learn here? A couple things actually. Um, don't ever go to the post office. And postage is expensive so don't skimp on adding shipping fees but they may be another blog for another log. THAT is not an expression, I just like how it sounded in my head.

STEP 2: IT'S THE FUTURE NOW. PAY FOR POSTAGE ONLINE AND PRINT THAT SHIT OUT.
But CODY, how do we avoid the post office if we have to ship stuff? Haha, you goofball, just pay for postage online, print out the label and stick it to the front of your package! You have a couple options here. You can simple pay through the USPS website (usps.com - this is not a sponsored post of the United States Postal Service) or if you are running an online shop set up an account with Shipstation (shipstation.com - this is not a sponsored post of Shipstation either).

The first option is pretty simple and quick: just create an account, go to Mail & Ship at the top, then Click-N-Ship in the drop down menu, fill out your stuff and print out your label! 

If you are planning on shipping out orders regularly, I can't recommend Shipstation enough. My shop is attached to my Squarespace website (not sponsored but I'd like to be please) if you upgrade to the ecommerce basic plan you can connect to Shipstation which keeps track of all your orders and allows you to purchase postage ONLINE through Stamps.com (I know it seems complicated but it does it automatically) so you fill out the addresses, it calculates the shipping cost and you print out the label! Shipstation has a bunch of video tutorials and their customer service has been super good so far so check that out if you need it!

STEP 3: BUT WAIT. HOW DO I SHIP MY STUFF WITHOUT GOING TO THE POST OFFICE?
You dummy I told you it's the future and in the future we are shut-ins and don't leave our homes! USPS PICK-UP BABY! Log back into your USPS account, go to the Mail & Ship drop down menu, and click Schedule a Pick-up! Fill out the stuff, put your packages in a nice box (and I find adding a note that says "USPS PICK-UP PLEASE!" or something like that is helpful because they may miss it or might just ignore it tbh) and BOOM, your friendly neighborhood postal worker will come to your front door and take your packages off your hands! It's that simple. 

OKAY that's 3 steps so I will stop there, anymore and I lose my attention span. I hope I was able to teach some things to somebody because they sure don't teach us this IN SCHOOL FOR SOME REASON? I know all of this will seem very obvious if you've done it before, but if you are knew to shipping out your art stuff then I am here for you. If I missed anything and you have questions PLEASE leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Learn from my mistakes and say it with me: DON'T GO TO THE POST OFFICE.