Is your mail a source of frustration that keeps adding to the already out of control paper clutter in your home? Tell me, does this happen to you? – You walk in the door, the kids want your attention, you need to make dinner or run the kids to their after school activities. So you set down your mail, planning to deal with it later, but never get around to doing so and by week’s end you have several piles of mail on your counters leaving you with the feeling that you’ll never catch up.
We all lead busy lives and have days where we cannot deal with the mail right away. For those times I suggest that you place your mail into a decorative basket which can stay on the counter in your kitchen or your den. Now you have a designated spot (your inbox) where you can leave your mail until you have time to tend to it. Having one common “drop zone” will avoid lost or forgotten correspondence and bills.
My best advice and first option however would be to deal with your mail the minute it enters the house. I actually often open my mail right by the recycle bin in my garage – temperature permitting that is. If you can, take just a few minutes to open the envelopes (which can be recycled as well) and sort the contents into piles of: “recycle”, “shred” and “keep”. Store a small basket next to your shredder and (when you have time) shred anything that has your personal information on it. Next sort your “keep pile” into – to read – to pay – etc. Don’t forget that your “to read file”, or in-box needs regular attention as well. Take a few minutes at least twice a week and read through your papers and catalogs, then recycle or file them.
Keep your bill paying supplies together and schedule regular times to tend to your billing. Many of us are using on-line banking; however there is always something that will need to be mailed out from time to time. I recommend keeping your bills, check book, envelopes, stamps and return address labels where you pay your bills to have everything close at hand.
Next you will have to deal with the issue of all those catalogs and magazines! Unless you absolutely love each one of them consider getting your name removed from their mailing list. WWW.Catalogchoice.org is a free service for opting out of unwanted mail, catalogs or phone books. Not reading your magazines? Pass them along to family and friends, then let the subscriptions expire and don’t renew. You will be thankful to receive less paper clutter while saving a few trees in the process!
There are several different ways to deal with paper clutter and your incoming mail, see what works for you and remember to stick to your routine to avoid the stress of digging out from under those piles again.
As always, I would welcome your comments and suggestions for future blogs.