Living By Design- Organizing Your Mail


I know I am not the only person on earth to get buried in my mail. It can be overwhelming and become a distracing pile in your space. So here are some steps I’ve put into place at our house:

1.) If you can’t finish the mail, don’t start the mail.  You can’t slice chicken for dinner and sort your mail at the same time. So, when you come in the front door with a stack of mail, put it in the basket, box, or whatever container you have handy for keeping your mail tidy.

This is a cute entry table that has files worked into the design. Don’t go with the boring manilla colors though! HERE are some cute ones from Nate Berkus at Target.  Of course, my happy place, The Container Store, has a wide variety HERE to choose from too.

Via Better Homes & Garden

Via Better Homes & Garden

This entry below is probably more my style. I would SO totally come through the door and toss the mail into that big ol’ basket below this entry table. Yup. I’m serious.

Molly Frey Design (via Houzz)

Molly Frey Design (via Houzz)

2.) When you’re ready, take your mail basket / file / box to wherever you can maintain your sanity. 

  • First, pull out the advertisements, flyers, circulars, etc. and set them aside; you’ll either clip the coupons or put them in the recycling bin – later.
  • Also set aside the catalogs. If you’re shopping for something specific, save the catalogs that would be applicable. If you’re getting catalogs you don’t want to receive, pull off the pages with the mailing label and put them aside.
  • Then separate the rest: bills, personal correspondence, time-sensitive invitations, requests for charitable donations, membership renewals, new credit card offers, and so forth.

Open the bills first so you can avoid late charges or having the electric service turned off.  All the stuffing that says “You’ve been selected to receive these free gifts” goes into the recycling bin. All you want is the bill and the return envelope (unless you pay on line, then put that in the recycle bin too).

Put any invitations aside; later on, you’ll transfer those into your calendar and send your response.

 3.) When you’re done sorting, then you can shop your catalogs & clip your coupons.

  • Flip through the catalogs with intent. Don’t get sidetracked by the other pretty items that you’re not on the hunt for. If you find what you’re looking for, tear out the page (usually the catalog name is on the bottom of the page, but if not you may want to note it by hand) and set this page aside for follow up. If you want to keep the rest of the catalog for leisurely viewing later, then store it with your magazines. The caveat is that if you have the previous catalog of the same name, that issue needs to go in the recycle bin.
  • Get those back pages you ripped out, call the companies that sent them and tell them what you don’t want – their catalogs.  (You can also log on to a free service that will stop these unwanted mailings from being sent to you.)
  • Clip the coupons you want to use this week, set those aside, and put the rest of the paper in the recycle bin.

4.) Do something with the piles you just created.

I am a firm believer of touching the mail only once, but sometimes that isn’t possible. If there’s room in your home office, have a small bin for action items (bills, invitations, and anything that requires attention sooner than later).

If you CAN set aside just a few more minutesfor addressing the mail, do it:

  • Leverage technology whenever possible and schedule the bill pay via your smartphone.
  • Put the coupons in your wallet so you remember them when you’re paying for the items.
  • Call and order the catalog item immediately. If it’s outside of their business hours, hop on line and get it ordered and be done with it.
  • If you don’t have the time to place the catalog order, just put the catalog page on your computer keyboard so you can log on and order it the next time you’re at your computer. Or have a quick file in the pantry to call on soon. (Why the pantry? Because the file is not cluttering your desk or counter top, but is in a location that you are accessing regularly).

Do any of these ideas strike a chord with you? Or do you have tips of your own that have worked well? I would love to hear! Leave a comment below.

Or do you need help creating a functional space? We can design something that looks AND works great for your individual needs. So give us a call at 972.248.4733 to find out how we can help you!

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