UPDATE (10/25/10): Please check out my newer post on mail forwarding services.
When I decided to make the move to Buenos Aires a few months ago, I also decided to start switching as many of my accounts to e-bills as I could. This resulted in an immediate reduction in the amount of mail I received (other than junk mail and catalogs). However, not everyone has an e-bill option yet and there are many other important things that may come via the postal mail too – tax notices, random checks, bills, etc. I needed to find a solution to deal with those.
Myfirst thought was to forward mail to my mother and ask her to open it for me, but I didn’t want to put that responsibility on her. Luckily, a quick Google search turned up an even better solution – Earth Class Mail. With Earth Class Mail, you sign up and then forward all of your mail to one of their addresses – a PO Box or an actual street address for a few bucks more. When they receive your postal mail, they scan in the envelope and then put it up on the web for you to view through a secure web site. When you login, you can view all your scanned mail and choose from the following options: open it and scan the contents, recycle it, shred it, archive it, or forward-ship it. You can even wait and batch all your mail into one shipment. The pricing is very reasonable too. I chose the $19.95/month plan which allows me to use one account for up to five different addresses (personal and business), and scans up to 100 mail pieces and 100 pages of mail per month.
The online setup is easy, but you will also need to mail them a notarized Form 1583, so make sure you give yourself enough time to do this. Your new postal address will then look something like this:
PO BOX 55071 #12345
Boston, MA 02205-5071
Their security and privacy procedures are pretty strenuous too. And, this year they are adding electronic check deposit too! Definitely check them out for a great expat postal mail solution.