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More Organizing Ideas

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Minimize Mail Madness

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Tired of dealing with piles of papers, missing bill deadlines or searching for that missing invitation? Here are a few tips to help you minimize the mail madness:

Suggested Tools:

  • box/basket (for mail)

  • envelope opener or scissors

  • recycle bin

  • shredder

  • accordion file (for bills)

  • file cabinet (for important documents)

  • stackable file trays (action, read)

Designate one area where you will drop the mail, somewhere easily accessible as soon as you walk in the door, such as a decorative basket. Always use this same spot.

When you have a spare 3-5 minutes, bring the rest of the mail to where you process it. This should be the usual place where you deal with your home operations, such as a desk, office or kitchen.

Go through and discard the flyers and drop them straight into the recycle bin. It's helpful if your recycle bin is nearby. If not, perhaps placing a small recycle bin near where you process the mail would be a good idea. You can usually find these at Dollarama.

Open remaining mail. I find it easiest if I open all the envelopes first before reading anything. Make sure to discard envelopes and any erroneous inserts immediately. If you want to read about what's new at your electricity company you can always look it up on their website.

*If you can't get to all of the mail right away, open only the ones that you know are time sensitive and keep the rest in the mail bin until you have an opportunity to go through them.

Separate all of the mail into a few categories:

*Before filing, unfold and flatten out papers to save space.

Urgent. Leave these out in a visible spot, by the phone, in front of your computer, on top of your calendar, any place where you will see them and remember to deal with them ASAP.

Bills. Give these a quick glance and immediately place into the bills folder. To keep my bills organized in one place, I use an accordion file.

Requires Action/Response. Immediately place in your to-do folder. In my office, I place these on the top shelf of my stacking file tray.

Events. If it's something that you are planning on attending, note the date immediately in your calendar.

Save. If it's something important, place it immediately into your file cabinet in its respective folder or even place on top of your file cabinet until you have time to file it appropriately.

*If you generally don't have time to do file it properly, why not have a to-be-filed file in the front of your file cabinet for temporary papers that need to be better organized when you have the time.

Read Later. Put these into your "read" folder. I also use our stacking file tray for these. You could even use a large zippered envelope that is portable for some light reading elsewhere in the house.

*Beware: Unless it's something really interesting or important, chances are you'll probably never go back to it and it will just add to the piles of paper. Is this something you could easily look up on the internet if you decided you wanted to learn more about it? Do you already have several piles of similar items waiting to be read? Does anyone ever actually go back and read these things?

Finally, I recommend shredding anything with your personal information, such as your address, account numbers or otherwise delicate details. The shredder I use is made by Aurora Corp., which I purchased from Walmart.

We hope this Bright and Breezy post on Minimizing Mail Madness will help to make life easy. For more tips and inspiration, check out our other blog posts or subscribe for immediate updates. Thank you for reading!

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