Mailbox 2.0

Would you like to know what happens when you put up a mailbox in Minnesota and then basically ignore it for 16 years?

Mailbox 2.0 |www.countingwillows.comIt looks pretty darn sad, that’s what.  When I suggested to my husband that I wanted to replace the mailbox, he asked, “What’s wrong with it?”.  Seriously?!  Men.  Since I am a list maker, let me count the ways:

  • The numbers attached to the mailbox are discolored and/or missing
  • The post was broken off at some point and patched together with extra 2×4′s
  • The mailbox is completely faded
  • The post quite possibly has barnacles growing on it.  I don’t know how else to describe that situation going on with the top part of the post.
  • It is not pretty (OK, not essential in a mailbox, but still)

Lucky for me, our harsh Minnesota winter helped me along as the plow pushed so much snow up onto the yard that it twisted the post around a bit, too.  Steve relented and agreed that the mailbox could be updated.  Get ready for a sneak at the final product:

Mailbox 2.0 |

In the words of Barney Stinson, its ‘awesomer than awesome’.  I would have loved to have just power washed the post and reused it, but it was beyond saving since it had broken.  But, since we needed a new post anyway…

I had more than a year to dream about a new mailbox, (note to self: get out more) I spent way more time than I should have debating whether the post should be wood or plastic.  I was drawn to the white posts because our house has white trim, but I was worried it would get dirty.  The last thing I need to do is be worried about cleaning my mailbox post.  In the end, I decided to live dangerously and bought this post online.  If it gets dirty after June 7th, I won’t worry much about it until Alex’s graduation party in 2016 – I promise.

My sweet husband knows that I am driven by the Spring Project List, so when he was tired after returning from a weekend Scout camping trip a couple of weekends ago, he knew he could tackle one quick project and try to keep me happy.  Tough job some days, poor guy.

Mailbox 2.0 |

He simply pulled out the old post (even he agreed it was in sad shape) and took off the old mailbox for me.  When I looked at new mailboxes, the one I liked is the one I have (this one from Rubbermaid, except ours has an arm that pops up when the door is opened (so you know the mail has come)).  I love how it is extra wide, so magazines and such lay flat and we can get smaller packages delivered into the box, too.  Ours works fine and just looked rough, so I opted to spray paint it for a fresh look.

I chose flat black for the box, a pretty red for the flag and a grey-blue for the pop up arm {this is the same color I used for the trellises next to the shed}.

Mailbox 2.0 |

Before I could paint the actual box, I had to pry off the remaining numbers and letters.  I believe rubber cement was what we used to adhere them many moons ago.  I was able to scrape most of it off with a paint scraper (is that the technical term?  please advise).

Mailbox 2.0 |

I could not scrape it completely smooth and I was feeling the pressure to get the thing painted so it could dry and be reattached in time for Monday’s mail.  I pulled out some coarse sandpaper and leveled the surface.  It actually worked pretty well.  It was not completely smooth, but I crossed my fingers that after a few coats of paint it would not be super noticeable.  I mean who really looks THAT closely at your mailbox?

Mailbox 2.0 |

Once everything was refreshed, Steve installed our ‘new’ box onto the new post.

I went back to the same options of permanent vinyl that I had when organizing our cleaners, but this time I picked the lighter blue.  I used my Silhouette machine to cut our name out and stuck it onto both sides of the post arm.  I decided the front could use some pizazz, so I also used the gray to cut our house number and our name for the front of the mailbox.  I used one of my favorite fonts, LD Woodland.  I do not know how permanent permanent vinyl really is, but I guess we will find out after a harsh winter or two.  I do have vinyl (non-permanent) on my van and it has held up just fine so I think it will last over time, but stay tuned.  I already had the vinyl and it did not really cost me anything to make, so it is worth a shot.

Next, Steve and I talked over our house number options.  I could cut some with the Silhouette or use metal numbers.  Being a firefighter, Steve said that he really preferred reflective numbers.  He says that they really help when trying to find a house for a medical or fire call.  Looking online, one sheet of reflective vinyl cost over $40, so we went back to the barnacle-filled post and decided we liked the numbers we had on that.  They were in decent shape, so Steve carefully tried to pry them loose so we could reuse them.  The 5 did break, but only in one spot and we decided that we could make it work.

We had to cut the end of the cross line on the 4 to get it to fit upright on the post, but once we did that, we were happy with the look!  Technically, we are supposed to have the house number on both sides of the mailbox, but we live in a cul-de-sac so there is only one way to come to our house.  Again with the living dangerously.

Mailbox 2.0 |

The final step was to put fresh wood chips around the post.  I don’t mind plants around a mailbox, but I once heard that mail delivery people often are stung by bees when plants are near the mailbox.  We have a lot of bees and wasps in our area, so I left the plants for other parts of the yard – the bees can enjoy them a safe distance from the humans that way.

As for the costs of the project, we spent $160 on the new post, $21 on spray paint (we used all of the black and a little of the blue and red) and I already had the vinyl on hand.  We reused our reflective numbers, too.  We usually refresh our wood chips each year; I won’t count that in the cost of this upgrade.  So this mailbox upgrade cost us $181.

Because everyone loves a good before and after:

Mailbox 2.0 |

There you have it – Mailbox 2.0.  I love it and am looking forward to attaching some fun balloons to mark the party on June 7th.


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