The mail just keeps on coming. If you’re not receiving bills, you’re finding credit card solicitations, important tax documents, school notices, sales flyers and catalogs stuffed in your mailbox day after day, year after year. If you don’t stay on top of it all, you can end up losing important information, space on your kitchen table/desk or even worse, your mind!
The good news is that it doesn’t take much work to deal with the ongoing problem of mail clutter. By following the simple steps below, you can send unnecessary mail and clutter packing:
- Reduce the flow. If you purchase something from a retailer, chances are you’re going to continually receive their catalogs. If you no longer order from these retailers or peruse their catalogs, ask to be taken off their mailing lists. Also when you sign up to buy something, be sure to check off that you do not wish to receive their catalogs. If a company you continue to do business with sends you information, ask to have it sent electronically through email. For example, for a smart and easy way to reduce mail, ask your financial institution and billers to send statements electronically. You’ll not only reduce mail pileup, but also help save the planet.
- Centralize your mail in one place. Designate a basket or inbox to hold your mail. So if you can’t get to your mail right away, you can place your mail in the basket to ensure it doesn’t get lost or scattered all around your table or desk.
- Establish a daily mail management routine. Set aside a time each day to go through the mail. As you do that, organize your mail as follows
- Actionable mail: If you need to take action on a piece of mail, such as make a bill payment, write and attach a sticky note about what you have do and when, and place the mail in a file marked “action.”
- Recycled mail: If you have identified something as junk mail, which is mail that doesn’t interest you or contain confidential information that could facilitate identity theft, place it in a file marked “recycle.” To reduce recycled mail, consider calling the company that sent the mail and ask to be taken off their mailing list.
- Destroyed mail: If you receive a piece of mail, such as a credit card solicitation that contains personal information put it in a file to be shredded.
Set a time each week to act on the items in your action, recycle and shred files.
- Decide what to do with personal mail. If you receive personal mail, such as birthday cards and other keepsakes, make a decision on how long you will keep them. You may, for example, want to display birthday cards for a week and then store them away in a permanent place with other keepsakes. Or you may want to throw them away. Whatever you decide, stick to the same system.
As with any type of organization, the important thing is to stay on top of your mail and stick to an organizing schedule. Try it; you just might take back control of your life — and your tabletops.
Take the first steps to cutting back mail clutter today: sign up for e-Statements to receive your monthly account information electronically. Mother Nature will thank you!