Preparing Letters & Flats

The below instructions apply to preparing letters and flats.

Most items submitted for mailing do not usually require additional preparation, other than the placement of postage on the item. This enables Mail Services staff to process all of the mail as efficiently as possible.

Letters and flats (envelopes larger than letter size)

These constitute the majority of mail sent out from the university. Please keep the following things in mind when preparing letters and flats:

  • Seal all envelopes except those that qualify for letter sealing. Please do not use the metal clasp that is found on larger envelopes as the only method of sealing.

  • Paper clips and other paper fasteners that have sharp edges will often tear a hole in paper envelopes and should not be included inside mail. Metal edges can also damage postage meter machines. Unfortunately, it is not possible for Mail Services to detect, open and correct all envelopes with the problems created by metal insertions. If you must use fasteners with sharp edges, please use a padded envelope or box instead of a paper envelope.

  • Staples should not be used to close envelopes.

  • The contents must be completely contained in the envelope and not protrude above the flap fold. It is not recommended that envelopes be filled in excess of their capacity.

  • Ordinary paper envelopes (#9 and #10) are not designed to contain anything that is bulky, has sharp corners or sharp edges. For example, a book or catalog placed in a paper envelope will often tear the envelope during processing and handling.

  • The University mail label will adhere to a paper surface. However, it is a good idea to use clear cellophane tape, especially on materials of significant value or irregular shape.

Letter Sealing

Mail Services can seal Number 9 and Number 10 letter-size envelopes. All other mail must be sealed before being processed. To qualify for sealing, envelopes must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The flaps must be interlaced (one flap under the other).
  • Envelopes must not be overstuffed. The contents must be completely contained in the envelope and not protrude above the flap fold.
  • The envelopes must be of the same size and mailed at the same rate.
  • The envelopes must be neatly arranged and rubber banded in bundles, with the addresses facing the same direction.