The U.S. Postal Service is asking homeowners to inspect and repair their mailboxes, especially during Mailbox Improvement Week, May 17-23.

"Repairing suburban and rural mailboxes improves the appearance of our community and makes delivering and receiving mail safer for our carriers and customers," said Oklahoma District Manager Julie Gosdin.

The Postal Service makes this annual request because of the wear and tear that occurs to mailboxes every year. Some of the typical activities homeowners may need to do include:

• Replacing loose hinges on a mailbox door.

• Repainting a mailbox that may have rusted or has started to peel.

• Remounting a loosened mailbox post.

• Replacing or adding house numbers.

• Clearing in and around the mailbox to minimize insects.

"If a homeowner plans to install a new mailbox or replace a worn one, he or she must use only Postal Service-approved traditional, contemporary or locking full or limited-service mailboxes," said Gosdin. "Customers must be careful when purchasing curbside mail receptacles because the use of unapproved boxes is prohibited. Customers may use a custom-built mailbox, but they must consult with their post office to ensure it conforms to guidelines applying to flag, size, strength and quality of construction."

For more information on the use of names or numbers on mailboxes, or answers to any other questions, contact a local station manager or postmaster.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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