Mailboxes of the WORLD

Behold … the mailboxes of the WORLD, as sent in by The Art of Doing Stuff readers.

This is easily the weirdest post I’ve ever done.

Last week I asked readers to send me in a picture of their country’s communal mailbox.  Then I spent a lot of time explaining what I meant.  Not the mailbox at the end of your driveway, not the mailbox beside your front door where you get Dwell or People Magazine delivered.  I meant the mailboxes you’d walk to to mail a letter.

Once that explanation was out of the way, the pictures came flying in.  My hope was to get mailboxes from at least 10 countries.  And I did!  Although I’m pretty sure Laos is a made up country.  Almost positive in fact.

I’m a bit iffy on Finland too.

But … from The Art of Doing Stuff readers to YOU …




22 mailboxes from around the world, showcasing  their different shapes and colours.

The last picture was sent in by Steve, a reader whose kids watched a video of fainting goats and then killed themselves laughing.  After that everything became a fainting version of itself.  One morning after Halloween they went outside and found these on their street corner.  Fainting Mailboxes.

Special thanks to Eleanor (in New Zealand), Maggie B and Karin (in Germany), Mel (Danish mailbox), Kim (English mailbox by way of Switzerland), Nathalie (in Scotland), Roxana (from Romania), Caroline (R2D2 mailbox in Chicago), Mel (in Switzerland),  Natalie (outside of Tokyo), Cathryn (travelled to Kyoto, Japan),  Terrie (travelled to Laos), Jenni (in Finland), Virginie (in France), Christina (in USA), Beth (travelled to China) and Steve … (fainting Goats)

Sorry to everyone who got their pictures in too late to be included in the collage.  Poland, Australia, Netherlands, Tel Aviv, etc. … you’ll be missed.

You can expect to see more posts like this in the future.  With so many readers spread around so many countries it seems stupid not to take advantage and have you produce all of my content for me.

Wait … what I *meant* to say was, With so many readers spread around so many countries it seems stupid not to take advantage of it and use it as a tool to take a look at the rest of the world.  Yes.  That’s what I meant.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Jenn says:

    Fabulous. Love this idea.

  2. Melanie says:

    I loved this post! Jealous your Canadian box. Oh so stylish…

  3. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    My son thinks that I should buy a fainting goat..I told him no because he would torture it to death making it faint for laughs..I enjoyed seeing the mailboxes though..I love learning about how different common things can be in other countries..I think that our USPS boxes are the most boring..

  4. Barbie says:

    Great post! Loved it! Rural England is my favorite! Then Scotland….I love red. :)

  5. Linda Kay says:

    Love the mail boxes….especially Scotland’s! But the best part was looking up the fainting goats video! So funny!

  6. FlagirlinTN says:

    When I saw the Finland boxes I let out a middle school giggle. #1 and #2? Made me think they should be port-a-potties.

  7. Emily says:

    i feel a little strange for mentioning this but… isn’t this somehow illegal? or are you just not supposed to take pictures inside government buildings? is that just me? am i crazy? have i worked for a lawyer too long?

    • Gillian says:

      You’ve worked in law too long hee hee. In some countries you can’t take pics inside some government buildings, but not all countries and not all buildings. These are only post boxes and they all appear to be outside rather than inside buildings.

  8. Jill says:

    Oh, Kristine – Great idea!

    Loved this post!

  9. Karena says:

    I would love to know what happened to the dairy man coming in the morning to deliver milk eggs etc. Then there was the Manor Man bringing bread and rolls. I would like to never have to step foot in a store, am getting more and more overwhelmed by the zillions of choices!

    Art by Karena

  10. Kristine says:

    Frame these bad boys out (yes, they are boys) and put in a series…instant art!

  11. Brenda j says:

    Beauties eh? Scotland, Kyoto Japan and our rare fainting mail boxes are just the BEST!

  12. Beth says:

    Love, love, LOVE this post! I feel much more informed and amused now…and I didn’t even have to leave my couch to learn about this rather fascinating topic.

  13. anna says:

    fainting mailboxes! I love it!

  14. Melanie says:

    Wow, that is soo neat… May I print a couple? I love the shapes of them I’d like to keep them for viewing… Karen, awesome idea, I really enjoyed seeing all the mailboxes & diff colors….

  15. Tess says:

    The Scots have a very regal mailbox don’t you think?

  16. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    England & Scotland win for most aesthetically pleasing.

  17. ev says:

    Mailbox pics were fun! How about pics of ones “outdoors shoes”, like for gardening, taking out the trash, walking the dog, etc. You could rate them–worst looking ones, most likely smelliest ones-you know. Maybe same shoes as planters, or door stops! Thanks for sharing your wit!

  18. Melissa says:

    I have always wanted a retired mailbox… you know to put stuff in. (I’m in the U.S., btw). Now, I NEED a retired mailbox from some other country — how cool would that be? I’d put stuff in it, and then Karen would write some post about cleaning out your mailbox, and it would be easier to do since those foreign mailboxes seem… more compact. Happy Friday to me!!!

  19. ahhahaaaa…..fainting mail boxes….LAUGH OUT LOUD…..


  20. Langela says:

    I love the mailboxes from England. I would keep one just for the beauty of it. Thanks everyone for doing Karen’s job for… sending in your photos for all of us to see.

  21. gina says:

    Loved this post. You should totally pick different things from around the world. Very interesting!!

  22. Phyllis says:

    This was a great post…I loved it!!…I also like the “travelling t-towel” idea…like “pants” only different! I’m so happy I get to start my day with you and your readers…it is just plain fun!! Thanks!!

  23. maria says:

    What a great way to start my Friday morning . .. . wait, I believe my mail just came in!

    Have a great day!

  24. Very neat idea posting pics of mail boxes (get it? “posting”. Gah, it is too early for drinking so I must just be annoying naturally.

  25. Amy Schmucker says:

    fire hydrants next please.. please. Better yet, a fireMAN and women too.

  26. mimiindublin says:

    Dammit, I missed that one!
    and I’d have a good mailbox too :(
    Love them all but esp the Japanese one, it’s cute!
    Look forward to more of these Karen!

  27. turk says:

    Great Post…get it? Post! Hahahahahaa…..hmmmm

  28. marilyn says:

    loved it karen, maybe you could do a a post about cashiers of the world, they sit down ALL DAY in portugal..lazy

  29. Susan Whelan says:

    Okay, I had to come back and say that Steve and his kids are warped. And I love them. Searched YouTube and found the fainting goats. I’m sitting in my store cackling hysterically, thinking you’d have to keep a herd like that away from the world. I love animals but how could you walk through a herd of goats like that without clapping your hands at least once. At least. I wouldn’t have that kind of self-discipline, would anyone? Poor goats. Heehee.

  30. You, forgot Sri Lanka…

  31. Bethany says:

    I just adore the little postal gnome in Japan…so sweet! Makes me want to write a letter, just to make him giggle!

  32. Susan Whelan says:

    That was fun, looking at all the different types of post boxes around the world. Fun to see which countries are very staid and businesslike and which ones showed a more playful or lighthearted side. It was also a great way to get out of having to think of something new to write about today.
    I’m assuming the Canadian mailboxes fainted because they saw mail being delivered within two days?

  33. Denise says:

    With the way the postal system in the US is going these mailboxes may soon become a thing of the past like the 8 track tape. :-) (Don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Denise- I’m literally a couple of years shy of the 8 track. That was my sister’s era. I’m strictly a cassette/walkman girl. :) ~ karen!

  34. Karen J says:

    Great post! Loved Rural England – very Secret Gardenish.
    Being a lover of food – maybe you could try ‘Breakfasts of the WORLD’ – who doesn’t love seeing who eats what?
    Thanks again Karen, for amusing me while I have my morning coffee:)

  35. Heather says:

    When you put up this post I wildly searched through all my pictures on my external hard drive for the picture I had of R2D2 mailbox I took in Philadelphia. As strange as this may sound, I never take pics of mailboxes and couldnt believe I had one to send you. When I couldnt find it I remembered that trip was before the virus that ate up the brain of my computer…and why I got the external hard drive. Alas, it was gone. I am glad some other cray picture snapping tourist had a pic of it to send you. However that doesnt look like Philly to me….maybe there is more than one?

  36. Emily says:

    This was an awesome post. I love how Japan has a cute little figurine on their government standard mailbox. I hope you do a followup with all the photos that didn’t make it into this one!

  37. Amy says:

    Loved this! I mean who doesn’t love fainting mailboxes?I’ve become addicted to your posts. You make chicken food interesting for goodness sake!

  38. Diane says:

    LOL Karen…you have a list of requests of “pics to ask for” from your readers! You may never have to write another blog entry on your own again. :P

    And regarding the C3PO…too darn cute!!!

  39. Valentina says:

    I am the only one missing from the special thanks. Don’t worry, us italians don’t take these things too seriously, and you won’t find a dead horse head in your bed… (


  40. Gale says:

    Now you need to ask forpics of unusual personal mailboxes. There are some really cute ones out there.

  41. Jenny says:

    I loved seeing all the different mailboxes of the world. So multicultural.

  42. Is is wrong of me to want to go to the states and find that R2D2 mailbox just to get a photo with it?
    Why can’t Canada Post do something neat with ours?

    PS – can you ask Steve to send you the video of the fainting goats so you can share it with us? Pretty please?

    • I’ll be the first to say it….Canada Post sucks.

      • Shirley sutherland says:

        I’m afraid I can’t agree with Michelle and Charlene. I think Canada is so cool that our mailboxes come pre-graffitied. How smart is that?

        • Oh our mailboxes are fine…..I meant the workers at the post offices near me suck. Terribly rude and I get anxiety if I have to go there. I dont understand why they have to be that way. Plus our prices are too high within Canada. Not a big surprise.

        • Lindey R. says:

          The postal workers don’t have a reputation for being very friendly in the States either. There are automated machines in most of the post office lobbies that let you mail packages and get postage. Those machines are actually much more friendly than the postal clerks most of the time.

    • Lucy says:

      1) I’m from the States and would like to see one of these R2D2 mailboxes, too. I had no idea we had anything but the boring blue ones.
      2) I remember seeing the fainting goats on a National Geographic episode. I found it for you on YouTube:

      • Karen says:

        Hi Lucy – The R2D2 mailboxes were only up for a few months in the larger cities in tourist areas for some type of Star Wars anniversary. I meant to write that in the post. Sorry. ~ karen!

        • Jan says:

          Not just in larger cities, actually. We had one at our main post office in Charleston, WV – It was way cool :)

        • Pats says:

          I want one at my house!! Or maybe in front, so people could actually use it. Wouldn’t it be fun to dress up like C3PO and stand next to it?

  43. Marti says:

    Great post. I would love to see drivers’ licenses from around the world.

    Except nobody would want to send in their photo or their address or their license number… or anything else. Sigh.

    ONWARD! What are the girls eating this week?

    • I bet if you looked online you could find a ‘sample’ Drivers License for a country. Although that would defeat the point of us all sending them in from around the world, I guess.

      I think European ones are all the same now (well, EU, anyway), we just have a little flag on to denote the country of issuing. Kind of like Euros.

      Oooh, how about a bank note post?

    • Karen says:

      Once when they were bored at the drivers license place they let me take my picture over and over until it was good. Now we aren’t even allowed to smile. ~ k!

      • Rachel says:

        When I first got my license, when I was sixteen, the lady offered to take another because I wasn’t smiling. I liked the picture though, so I left it at that.

        Last year when I got my new license when I turned 21 they made me push my (not long! not covering my eyes!) bangs off my forehead. I look so STUPID without bangs and they’re sticking up like a rooster and it’s just terrible.

  44. Kirsten says:

    Shoot, I meant to send you a picture of a West Coast mailbox (apparently we just have to be different in BC – though we do have some of the standard ones as well)! Oh well. It’s really cool to see all the different mailboxes, though, and to compare and contrast them.

  45. Natika says:

    Hi Debbie,

    Well, I can tell you about Japan. Milk is usually packaged in paper cartons. They don’t have sizes larger than 1L as far as I’m aware. At convenience stores, you can also get single serving-sized small glass bottles that look like what the milkman used to deliver.

    I find the single-sized paper cartons to be the most different though. Instead of being square and stout, they are long and thin just like the 1L cartons. They look like a mini version, just slightly fatter.

  46. Rebecca says:

    Also, why can’t I type “banal” without giggling?

  47. Rebecca says:

    Thanks Karen, and the rest of you. I loved that post. A little while ago I saw a thing on electrical outlets around the world and I really liked it. Why is something so banal so interesting to me?

  48. Meg says:

    ALSO I got your tea towel in the mail today. I <3 it! Maybe that's why I'm very excited about mail. :) :)

  49. Meg says:

    you should totally send a package in the mail to someone. a small one. like a tea towel. but! they don’t open it. Instead, they put it inside a slightly bigger envelope. And mail THAT to someone. Who mails THAT envelope to someone else. Repeat, until someone eventually sends it back to you, and you can have a russian-doll-esque amazing piece of mail, from different countries! content nested together, ready for you to photograph, as you open it with delight!

  50. Debbie says:

    Great post.

    What I would love to see is how every country sells milk.

    When we were in Georgia last year in conversation with a Walgreens employee we mentioned our milk is sold in bags here in Canada – she didnt believe me.

    Just a thought.

    • Diane says:

      LOL Too funny! However, it actually isn’t sold in bags in all provinces that I’m aware of. I haven’t seen bagged milk in Newfoundland since I was a kid..and never saw any in the Northwest Territories or Northern Ontario when I lived there either.

    • I have a friend who lives in Ontario who says she gets milk in bags. I live in Calgary and I have never seen milk in bags. At any grocery store. Bizarre.

    • Nancy says:

      Although it is not common I have seen milk in bags in Iowa.

    • Amy Schmucker says:

      MIlk in bags? Oh that is weird. Not weird I wouldn’t drink it, weird, how do you pour it? what do you do with the leftovers? Are the bags biodigradable or recycled plastics?

      Shelf stable milk is so not popular here in America. I wonder why that is? I have it just in case.

      Amy in Florida

      • jenny says:

        My mind immediately went to boxed wine where the wine is in the plastic bag and has a spout. Which could be fun with milk but not nearly as fun as the bag of wine. ^_^

    • Kim says:

      I lived in Ontario as a kid and remember milk in bags. Coming from B.C., I thought it was novel. Now after many, many years living in Alberta where we have milk in *wonderful* 2 and 4 litre plastic jugs that are recyclable (even the caps) as well as 1 and 2 litre cardboard cartons (also recyclable), I can’t imagine going back to painfully small and non-recyclable bags of milk.

      My husband and I want to move to Ontario in a couple of years, but that milk thing could be a deal-breaker. Well, maybe not completely, but if there’s a movement to get rid of milk in bags, count me in! WHY, WHY, WHY is it still sold so inconveniently and in such non-environmentally friendly packaging??! People in Ontario don’t know how much better life could be IMO!

      • Patti says:

        Bagged milk goes into a milk container, like this photo here:

        It`s simple – you purchase it in packs of three (which makes it easy to freeze a pack if you`re not going to drink it in time.. yes – you can freeze milk) and you just put it in the container and snip one of the ends so that you can pour.

        Technically, these suckers can be recycled. My grandma does it. She takes her old milk bags, cuts along the top, washes them, and uses them as sandwich bags. They`re stronger than regular plastic, so she uses them over and over! It`s awesome!

        Love this `post`, Karen. Neat to see how many countries your blog is popular in! Cool!

        • Deb J. says:

          Also the bags are the perfect size for many sewing patterns. Again slice off the top, clean and dry, then slide the paper envelope into the bag. Makes them much easier to store and handle. However, I wonder if anybody uses patterns anymore. BTW you can buy your milk in other containers here in Ontario. It’s just that the bags are the more common format. And there is a mini industry in making attractive containers. Just about every potter in the province has one in his or her line.

        • Marti says:

          Karen does. She makes all of Cuddle’s outfits. And apparently extracts a bum feather as payment for each. OUCH!!!

        • Deb J. says:

          We all know Karen is an amazingly capable she-maile and does lots of amazing things. But I wonder whether Cuddles outfits would warrant a milk bag to hold the pattern. Haven’t seen too many chicken outfit patterns but I wouldn’t imagine they need too big of an envelope:). Besides, doesn’t Karen knit them? And you have to admit she made good use of the bum feather.

        • Deb J. says:

          She-male. I hate autocorrect sometimes. And an iPad touchscreen. My fingers are too big!!

    • AmieM says:

      Bag milk is really only in Ontario.

      The rest of the country is normal and has their milk in jugs.

      (from a Manitoban uprooted and living in Ontario)

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