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Make Your Mailbox Flag More Visible
With a Simple Modification!
Living in the 'burbs, we find that lower property
costs allow for more privacy as and our homes are further from our neighbors...
and the road.
One drawback is the hike to the mailbox. I know people who
have driveways so long that they use 2nd hand golf carts to make the trip so
they don't have to fire up the SUV or pack a lunch!
I can't see whether the mailbox flag is up or down from inside house!
Since we send a letter or two every day, it's easy to tell if the mail has
arrived by the position of the flag... up or down. However, our flag
is hard to see against the woodsy backdrop of our neighbor's front yard. I'd
often walk half-way down the
driveway before realizing that my eyes we playing tricks... the dang flag was
What to do? I could use my binoculars, but I would have to find them every day...
more difficult than walking! I also considered getting an electronic
gadget (such as MailAlert) that warns you with a tone when the mailbox is
opened, but the remote unit inside the mailbox needs batteries and costs over $50.00. Nice if the
mailbox was not visible from the home... but I wanted a cheap/free solution.
Time to improvise...
So I decided to improvise a little fix to make the flag more visible from the
house. The first thought was to add a second flag at 90 degrees to the
first for increased visibility.
But that would require purchasing a replacement flag and riveting it to the
existing flag. Flag plus trip to the hardware store. Try again!
a thought. My mailbox flag is plastic, which is becoming
common with many standard mailboxes. So unlike a metal flag which is
easily bent, plastic does not hold a bend unless heated.
It might even crack or break off! So I took
out my trusty propane torch and a right-hand leather work glove. I very carefully heated the flag's post
right beneath the flag and turned it 90 degrees. The plastic became very
"fluid" when softened, so the flag must be held firmly in its new
position for about a half minute or till the plastic cools and solidifies.
Don't overheat the flag or it may
1) melt completely 2) turn black 3) catch on fire or 4) all three!!
The results... a nice 90 degree twist with no discoloration! This
also be done with a heat gun, but I decided it would be easier to
use a "cordless" torch than running 120 feet of extension cord to the mailbox.
(Notice how the theme of this article is "easy". Must be my "maturity"!)
Also, the plastic "clip-on" mechanism holding the flag in place made removal of
the flag iffy. If the clip broke I would have no flag at all!
Now... the view of my mailbox flag "before" and "after"...
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Written by Jerry Alonzy
Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.
As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+.