I travel quite frequently and this month was no exception. I spent most of the first two weeks of February on the road. Under normal circumstances, this would mean coming home to a small pile of mail. During the Month of Letters it meant coming home to a mountain. I only realized this would be the case around the middle of December as my travel plans solidified. This is in no way a complaint, though, because coming home to a mountain of letters did fill me with a certain joy.
Dealing with mail while on long trips can be an issue, especially when you don’t have a housemate or family member at home to open things and take care of urgent business.Yesterday, I read about a service called Outbox. They recently expanded from serving Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA. Outbox turns your paper mail into digital mail by gathering your letters, scanning them, then uploading the files to a digital mail box that you can access via a browser or an iPad app.
Outbox will come collect your mail every three days and holds on to the paper for up to 60 days. Customers may request re-delivery of their paper mail if they want to keep it. Outbox also sorts mail by type — bills, junk, flyers, personal correspondence. Just as with email, you can flag a letter as Junk and the Outbox team will stop scanning mail from that source and just toss it.
Some of you may be recoiling in horror at the idea of taking paper mail and making it digital. After all, we send handwritten letters this month instead of email or Tweets or status updates for a reason. And though the Outbox website says that they screen their employees better than the Postal Service does, I’m sure plenty of people would be uncomfortable with a stranger looking at their mail. Especially personal letters.
I can see this being a great service for people who are often away from home. Putting a hold on mail is useful, but only if you’re sure you don’t need to see any of it before you get back home. With Outbox you can keep up with bills or letters and still get the physical copies when you’re back. Plus, you can sort and search our snail mail almost as easily as your email.
Still, strangers looking at my mail…
Does Outbox‘s service tempt you even a little?