How to Stuff and Seal Envelopes:

PURPOSE: To ensure the mailing piece meets USPS requirements so that it will be mailed under the lowest postage rate; and to ensure that it will not open while in the big USPS machines, with the result that it will move through the mail stream smoothly. I know it doesn't seem like stuffing & sealing is hard but, believe me, it can be done badly -- we've seen everything!

Most often, we send stuffing & selaing to our on-call workers who are happy to have the work. If you want to do it in-house, follow these instructions. These instructions include the most efficient and quickest methods to do this work. It's easiest if you complete each step for the whole mailing before going on to the next step. Or one person or a group can work on one step while another person or group works on the next.

  • Take a look at the items that will go into the envelopes. If you have more than one, line stacks of those items up on a table. Starting at one side, slip one on top of the next until you have a stack of all the items in one set in your hand. Lay these on the table, criss-crossing these sets as you lay them down.

  • Pick up a small stack of envelopes. Hold them with the flaps up in your left hand (if you're right-handed). Hold the flap of the top envelope in your right hand, then slide it under the flap of the next envelope and so forth until you've opened all the flaps.

  • Hold these envelopes on your lap or the table next to the large stack of collated inserts. Pick up one set of inserts, place them in the top envelope, move that envelope towards you, then do the same with the next. When the stack of envelopes all have inserts, place the envelopes to the side.

  • Get a sponge, place it on a plate or other non-absorbent material. Get a small jar or pitcher and fill it with water. Wet the sponge, then wring it out a bit so it's not dripping. Get a towel and lay it down in front of you on the table. As the sponge gets dry, re-wet it with the water in the pitcher.

  • Pick up a small stack of envelopes - 10 or so. Lay them down on the towel with the flaps open and the glue part pointing up, then gradually separate them so that only the glue portion is showing. Take the sponge and rub it across these glue portions of the flaps. Put down the sponge. Starting with the top envelope, quickly close the flaps. As you close the flaps, reform them into a stack of envelopes. Pick up the stack, turn it over, lay it on the table, then rub across the section where the flaps are to ensure the wetted glue portions actually do stick to the paper.

  • Place these sealed envelopes into the mailing tray with the address side towards the front. The front of the tray is the end that has the tray label on it.

  • If there's not enough room in the tray to place all the envelopes, get another tray or, if a small number, rubber band them and place them on the top. Don't try to stuff them down the sides or anywhere where they will not be lying completely flat and all in the same direction. Don't place them in any position that might cause them to be scrunched. Scrunched mail won't easily move through the big USPS machines.

  • After the envelopes have had time to dry a bit or after they are all sealed, pick up a stack of envelopes with the flaps up, fold them almost in half and flip through the envelopes, watching to be certain that all the flaps have sealed. Reseal any that are not sealed. Do this with all the envelopes. Make sure you put them back into the tray with the addresses facing forward.

That's it.

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