We all despise getting mail & paperwork that comes into the house, right? Mail can trigger anxiety and feelings of uncertainty!
For some, it’s about not having the time to go through everything.
For others, it’s a matter of indecision about what to keep or toss.
Today, I will share some tips and tricks to make processing mail and organizing paperwork less overwhelming.
Getting your mail out of the mailbox or paperwork out of your child’s backpack is the first step.
Ideally, you can walk straight to your recycle or trash container and pitch the junk mail before you walk in the door. You know, the stuff you don’t need to take action on and won't actually reference later. Think junk mailers and that sort of mail. You also don’t need to shred these items.
If you are like me and do not have access to a recycle or trash container before you walk in the door, you need a place to set your mail so you can get settled, such as a drop zone that is not the kitchen counter.
A drop zone is a place to set your purse down, take off your coat and hang your keys, such as a wall hanging inbox near the door. You can have one inbox or multiple inboxes for each family member, the choice is yours!
An inbox also acts as a boundary. If you see that inbox getting full, it’s time to go through the mail!
Ideally, you would go through the mail immediately or once a day. If that is not possible, you will want to plan to do it at least once a week so you don't miss vital pieces of mail.
Let's go through your inbox or stack of mail, if you haven’t already. Now is the time to put trash items in the trash or recycle bin and shred documents containing private personal information before tossing it in the trash.
If something needs to have an action taken on it (think RSVP to a wedding, pay a bill, etc.) ideally, you take action on it right away. However, if you don’t have time, this is where a desktop paper organizer can come in handy. It's a home for the correspondence you need to take action on. Again, this creates a boundary; once that desktop organizer starts to look full, it is time to go through it. Ignoring the pile longer than a week may cause you to miss important deadlines, so proclaim a day like Sunday to be Mail Sorting Day in your house.
If the piece of mail or paperwork is something you need to reference later and no further action is necessary, it’s time to file it. I recommend that every home have a hanging file system. Whether you get a cute hanging file organizer that lives on your bookshelf or actual file drawers will likely be determined by how much space you have, how many files you have, and your preferred aesthetic. It’s best to organize your files alphabetically so that you can find your files later when you need them. An example of something that needs to be filed would be a W2 that arrives for tax purposes. You can create a 2023 Tax file and put all relevant documents there until it’s time to do your taxes. Another example would be your car’s registration. While one copy goes in your glove box, the other can go in your Auto file. It’s best to do a quick purge of each file folder every time you put something new in it to make sure everything in your files is current.
If the item that came in the mail is sentimental, for example, a card from your grandma, put it in a designated memorabilia bin with a lid that lives in your basement storage room on a shelving unit. I recommend creating a tote/bin for each family member and one for the couple if a couple is living together in the home. This gives you a home for artwork the kids make, anniversary cards you want to keep, and that sentimental mug you don’t use but want to keep; it doesn't belong in your kitchen anymore! The keepsake bins are a lifesaver for collecting your treasures and keeping them safe.
By following these 7 steps, you’ll have peace of mind, less clutter, and above all, less stress.
- Melissa Fortino
Helping feed your urge to purge clutter from your life!
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