While taking good safety precautions can help you avoid Covid under normal circumstances, the holiday season rarely means normal conditions at the post office. Even with more people steering clear or shipping gifts directly to family members from online retailers, your local post office is likely still a madhouse.

If you want to avoid this problem, you may decide that it’s time for you to print your own mailing and shipping labels. If you’ve never printed them before, you may wonder how to print mailing labels. Keep reading for a basic overview of how to print labels from home.

Printer Compatible Labels

Most printers can print adequate mail labels. The trick is that many labels only work with an inkjet printer or only work with a laser printer. Before you order labels or buy them in a store, check that they’re compatible with your style of printer.

Also, keep in mind what kind of labels you plan on printing. Return labels generally run small, often an inch wide by less than an inch high. Shipping labels often run several inches by several inches. You may require both, depending on your needs.

Printable Areas

Any given label will provide a finite amount of printable areas. That means your design must fit inside that printable area.

Many word processing and desktop publishing programs offer templates that you can use for labels. These templates work within standard printable areas for mail labels.

You can also search online for templates for mailing labels if you need sizes not provided by the templates in your program. For example, return label templates are common in these programs. Shipping label templates are less common.

Mail Postage Labels

Of course, if you’re looking for labels that include postage it gets a little trickier. Let’s say you only plan on printing off a handful of postage labels. You’ll likely look online for companies that specialize in offering postage or specific kinds of postage, such as certified mail online.

These companies let you input the information for the recipient, the type of postage you want, and then generate a label you can print off. You then affix that label and then drop it off at your post office. Be sure to check the post office hours, or schedule a pickup by a postal carrier.

If you ship a lot of packages, you may invest in a thermal printer that runs off adhesive-backed labels and works with a shipping provider.

Solving How to Print Mailing Labels

Most people can solve the problem of how to print mailing labels with what they have at home already. For most label needs, you can get by with a computer and a printer. You can use templates in your word processing or desktop publishing program or find them online.

If you need specialized postage, you can often find companies that will generate one-time labels for a fee. For frequent shippers, a label printer that works with major shippers often proves the best solution.

Looking for more helpful tips for the home? Check out some of the articles in our Lifestyle section.