Dealing with the mail can be viewed as such an unimportant task – that is until a collection letter or one stopping utility service within 48 hours shows up. Then it's time to take action and get a mail organizer system in place.
An uncomplicated and 'easy to use' system to organize your mail can make a huge difference in your life, and prevent embarrassing situations like collection letters from happening.
The typical household's mail organizer system, or lack thereof, usually means a pile of letters is opened and set aside to deal with 'later'. With everyone's hectic schedules these days, it's incredibly easy to forget to mail out or even pay a bill, especially when it's tossed in with junk mail and catalogs.
I know before, I developed a simple system to organize mail for my home, there were at least a couple of times when a bill or two was paid, but we forgot to mail it out on time.
The stress caused from late or lost mail just isn't worth it when there's so many other things to worry about these days. So, do yourself and your family a favor, save yourself some stress, and develop a simplified mail organizer system for your home with these easy steps.
Stop the clutter before it crosses your front door. Make it a point to trash/recycle your junk mail even before you walk through the door. You'd be amazed at how liberating this is, not to mention how it cuts down on clutter. Because, invariably as soon as you walk through the door, the phone will ring, or someone will want something and your mail will then take a back seat to your other priorities. It will then begin to pile up and clutter your counters.
Toss/Recycle, Act on Immediately, or 'Deal with Later'. Now, when mail comes in you're going to do one of three things: 1) toss in the trash/recycle, 2) deal with immediately, or 3) set aside to deal with later.
The first two steps are super easy aren't they? 1) Throw it out or recycle, and 2) Act on that piece of mail then and there... make a phone call on it, put bills in a bill organizer, file it away, etc.
It's the third step of 'setting mail aside' that thwarts our organizational efforts.
Setting mail aside to deal with later can cause clutter and I'll share what I do to avoid this nightmare.
Contain It. Contain the mail you're going to go through at a later date in baskets or organizers like the ones shown below. Now make it a point to go through it once or twice a week or as the items dictate your need to go through them. More on going through mail later...
Organizing your mail is a small step toward organizing and sorting out your life. Believe it or not, it allows you to live a more relaxed and confident life. Relaxed, confident, and in control since you know your bills are paid on time. The control it gives you is over the things that happen in your day, and with that control comes a confidence to deal with other unanticipated events that really do matter.
Now, What If You Don't Have Time to Go Through the Mail Everyday? If you're exhausted at the end of the day and still have to cook dinner, and aren't up to sorting through the mail, then simply designate a spot for your mail in a mail organizer like one of the ones shown below and pick a time to go through it.
Next, it's very important to pick a time to sort through your mail and commit to this. You need to determine a couple of days or evenings during the week to devote a little time to sort through the mail, say every Monday or Friday, or Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with the weekends off. Whatever your choose, just make sure you have the discipline to do it and follow these tips: Keep it contained and don't use too big a container.
Keep your mail contained in a mail organizer like one of those shown above. Keep it out in the open and in your way. If I notice my mail basket is getting a bit full and I'm too busy to deal with it, then I use the trick of putting it in the middle of the counter and in my way so I have a constant reminder to deal with it.
Make sure you don't use too big of a basket or spread out into the other slots of one of the mail organizers shown above. Otherwise, you may be tempted to just keep 'piling it in'. The key is that we want to only temporarily store our mail in the basket or mail organizer.
Now that you've got your mail contained and have determined when you'll go through it, make sure you have a solid uninterrupted 20-30 minutes to do so. If at all possible, try to go through it in the middle of the week and during the day, in case any of the mail requires your immediate attention such as a phone call to the bank, insurance company, mortgage company, etc.
Sort through the mail in three steps as mentioned above: 1) toss/recycle, 2) act on, and 3) file. The only problem that could arise here is if your schedule only allows you to go through your mail at night. In this case, do what I did when I worked out of the home and could only go through the mail at night.
As you go through your mail, keep a manila envelope handy with sticky notes and a pen. Use the sticky notes to document the action needed such as a phone call or photocopy to make. When you're done, put the items that need action in the manila folder and take with you to work the next day to deal with during a break or lunch hour.
This is an invaluable way to maintain your mail organizer system. Just remember that as you act on your mail the next day, keep the sticky notes updated and file the paperwork accordingly when you get home. Don't let it pile up in your bag or brief case.
Another great idea to reduce the clutter from junk mail entering your house is to stop it before it starts. This not only saves you the aggravation from dealing with junk mail, it saves the environment. So, check out Stop Junk Mail for information on stopping junk mail yourself for free, or pay a small fee to have someone do it for you.
Remember that while we can't always control the influx of mail we receive, we certainly can set up an efficient mail organizer system to control the amount of clutter that can accumulate. And, these mail organizer tips to designate, sort, and file our mail will definitely solve your mail organization problems.