I love custom stamps – especially receiving mail with custom stamps.
But what if you move too often to have your own? Maybe your employer requires relocation, you are a nomad, or any combination otherwise – I feel you. Custom stamps on your outgoing mail feels formal and maybe like “icing on the cake” when sending something special to a loved one.
So today I want to talk about how nomads can also have custom stamps that remain relevant for several moves. Also, a quick chat about why I think that these are essential for military families!
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Custom address stamps. Charming, looks expensive.
“The Johnson Family
123 Anytown, USA”
It’s just a custom-made stamp that specifies who lives where. And unlike a return address sticker, it feels more formal because the information is on a hardy stamp. I often see custom address stamps on wedding invitations and some holiday cards, but what if you love the look and move often?
I see two options for you to have bespoke address stamps:
- Buy a stamp to display name and address, discard when you move.
- Buy a stamp to display name and email address, use as long as you access that email account.
This simple shift in the information makes your stamp last longer – assuming that you don’t change your email address often. So instead of
“Johnson Family, 123 Anytown USA”
“Johnson Family, JohnsonFAMBAM@email.com” or
“James & Joy Johnson, JohnsonFAMBAM@email.com”
this provides more versatility than a physical address stamp can provide because the information won’t expire when you move. Using adult first names is entirely up to you.
If this idea is resonating, I recommend that you
– Use a family email address (separate from your personal account).
– Don’t use an email address from your employer or school (because you may not have access forever).
– Maybe avoid listing individual children’s names (for privacy and surprise additions).
– Be mindful that the email address is clear to see, read, and can’t be misinterpreted. Remember in middle school when you were inducted into the PEN15 club? Avoid that.
– Avoid fancy curly fonts. You want something that is easy to read and understand.
- Related: How to Use a Family Gmail Account
For military families like our own – I especially recommend custom stamps with an email address when TMO packs and moves your HHG. Use your stamp on each box they pack. EACH BOX.
Why? Because they typically write your last name on each box, and names are often misspelled. For example, SO MANY of our boxes have been labeled “Hoopiter” “Jopeeter” or “Juupter.” So I apply my custom ink stamp to EVERY BOX that they make – especially near a misspelling of our name. I tend to mark the boxes in the same place if possible – like the upper right corner, or by the sticker – this is just a personal preference, but it looks nice and intentional.
Why should anybody spend the time to mark their boxes, especially for an easy domestic move? Because HHG shipments don’t stay together in transit. It’s normal (and horrifying) to learn that your truck often needs to drop everything off in a warehouse before packing another house. So until a truck is bound for your home, your HHGs are going to wait in a warehouse with hundreds of same boxes.
Sometimes boxes get separated from their group, and later these warehouses simply auction off these stray boxes because it’s (apparently) not worth their time to track the owner. Case in point – someone in the Lost During My PCS group on facebook saw photos of a local warehouse auction, and she saw HHG moving boxes, then shared the warehouse photos with that Facebook group. Some photos were clear enough to read the service member’s name, and thanks to the internet, that person was notified of their lost box…but the movers and warehouse had nothing to do with it. The goods were reunited only because traceable contact info was visible online, and good samaritans intervened.
I bring this up because NO stamp can prevent loss, theft, or tampering. They simply provide a quick easy trace in the event of loss. This is why I recommend that your stamp be easy to read and not use fancy or curling fonts. This is also why I recommend simple email addresses too – let’s say that your email handle is PEN1569. So while it really references your favorite state (Pennsylvania), your favorite number (15), and your favorite muscle car (1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1), someone’s sweet grandmother is going to read “penis 69” and will not email you because she’s offended.
For the record, our current family email address isn’t even the first one we picked! I won’t share what it was exactly, but I will definitely tell you that it became quickly misunderstood when we moved to Alabama. Language is a powerful thing -so we changed our family email address, and bought a new stamp. Too easy!
So where to buy a custom stamp? There are a lot of options now!
I am happy with round, self inking stamps from Amazon, but you can similarly find affordable custom stamps on office supply sites, and unique stamps on Etsy if you prefer to shop small.
- Rounds stamps on Amazon that I buy
- Custom stamps on Staples
- “Custom rubber stamp” search on Etsy.com
My last tiny suggestion is to strike out or obscure the email address when you’re finished with the box.
A lot of us nomads are happy to give our good boxes to anybody who needs them (especially those closet boxes with the rod), and you don’t want to create future confusion. It’s easy – just use a big serious marker when you’re collapsing the box. Mark through the email address, or place an X through the entire stamp – whatever you like.