Natural Handyman's Links Library section header
Natural Handyman's Home Page Home repair articles and do it yourself tips Home repair contests at Sweepstakes Central Do it yourself books on a variety of home repair topics Tools Natural Handyman's Question and Answer archives Find a handyman or contractor for those small home repair jobs Select links to home repair and do it yourself products and services Advertising options on the Natural Handyman website Comments and questions

Return To Our Mailbox Tips Page

Make Your Mailbox Flag More Visible
With a Simple Modification!

Natural Handyman's overflowing mailbox!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 still up!!

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!

Modified mailbox flag for better visibilityThen 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 procedure can 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"...

Mailbox flag before modification                        Mailbox flag after visibility modification

Return To Our Mailbox Tips Page

Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

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+.