How to Address an Envelope

By Jay White

February 11, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Though email has made it possible to send written information to others without using the postal service, there are still many reasons that mail is important. It not only can be used to send original documents and one-of-a-kind items, it can also be used for the lost art of sending handwritten letters and cards. If you have never written a letter or addressed an envelope, it is rather simple to do. Here are the steps to properly address an envelope, and to make sure it arrives at the correct location:

1. Gather Your Address and the Address of the Person You are Mailing: An address needs several components. The format, and line where you place it is important, too. For US mailing addresses, the format works like this when writing an address:

Street Address and sometimes apartment number
City, State, Zip Code

If you have everything but the zip code, the USPS has a zip code finder on its website, and you can enter the street address, city and state. They will then give you either a 5-digit or a 9-digit zip code, known as the zip plus four. If you are writing to someone international, then follow the format that they give you for their address, and add their country in all capital letters at the bottom.

2. Write the address of the person you are sending your letter to on the front center of the envelope, in the correct format seen above. It is important

3. On the upper left-hand corner, write your address, also in the correct format.

4. In the upper right-hand corner, you will put postage. The amount that it costs to send a letter depends on several things. First, if you are writing to someone in your own country or internationally, postage is different. Postage is also more than the base rate if the envelope is an irregular size, extra thick, or extra heavy. If you are not sending a few papers in a standard-sized envelope, then it makes sense to go to the post office to get the correct amount of postage. You can put extra stamps on the envelope, but this is just a guess, and will often mean you end up wasting money to be safe, or not paying enough and having the envelope returned to you for more postage.

5. Place your letter inside your envelope, seal it, and it is ready to send to your recipient.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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