old mailbox

It seems like such a small thing, the mailbox. Junk comes in, Netflix movie go out. But when we moved into our new house, this mailbox was one of the biggest things to nag at me. Every single time I pulled up to our front gate, I looked at this junky, rusted old thing and I sighed. I had to pry it open to get the mail out and then coax it back shut. The locking mechanism was stubborn as heck, and for some reason the pole that the mailbox was affixed to stood way higher than necessary.

Quick home update: install a new mailbox

So, we set aside an afternoon for a quick mailbox update! I enlisted Opa's help to make sure this thing would be good and sturdy.

Mailbox Update: How to Install a Mailbox

post hole digger

Opa yanked the existing mailbox out of the ground and went to town with this tool, called a post hole digger. In case you couldn't tell by the name, its job is to dig holes for posts. You can rent one for less than $50 per day from your local equipment shop. He measured to make sure the pole was deep enough so that the mailbox would sit at the correct height.

concreting in our new mailbox

Next up, concrete time! The good folks at your local hardware store can point you toward the right concrete mix for your mailbox update. Concrete isn't as scary as it seems. You just mix it up with water and pour it like a smoothie. You can see we splashed a little up onto the pole and around on the ground. I just knocked that away with a shovel after-the-fact.

leveling the new mailbox

Use a standard leveler to make sure your post dries even. We would want our mailbox update to go in lopsided!

mailbox update

Then, it was a matter of following the instructions on the box of our mailbox kit that we got from Architectural Mailboxes. We put a lot of thought into our mailbox choice and settled on this one called the Geneva. It's a large capacity box (good for all those packages we receive!) that's made of die cast aluminum and powder-coated galvanized steel to withstand the occasionally harsh weather our here in the hills. I love that Architectural Mailboxes gives detailed pictures and information about each of the mailboxes on their site.

mailbox installation

It opens with a key from the back, so it's not ideal for drive-by mail-checking. For people like me who walk down to the mailbox, though, it's great because I don't have to enter the busy street with the kids to fetch deliveries. The only things I wanted to improve on a little were the inner bolts – this one used hex bolts when I thought rounded carriage bolts would be smoother for incoming packages – and the seal security. The black liner that serves as a buffer between the box and the back door was peeling up a bit, so I secured it back down with some metal glue I had on hand.

mailbox post

Finally, we secured the fancy ornamental pole caps around the pole.

outgoing mail in a mailbox

Tada! A clip inside the mailbox opening holds outgoing mail, which hangs down into the box when it's shut. If I needed to send a package out, I would leave the back open and put a note here for the mailman. I love that instead of a dinky flag, this thing has a cool pop-out alert system. When the mailman has fetched our mail, he just pushes it back in.

major mailbox improvement

I'd say this mailbox update was a major win. Opa suggested lining the whole corner area with a pretty hedge, some flowers and decorative rocks. Then this will be the perfect entryway to our new home! A couple people have asked why I chose white for the mailbox update, and it's because eventually we're planning to paint our home yellow and have white shutters to match. Can you picture it?