For the most part, mail has decreased over the last 10 years due to e-mail, paying bills online, and a general shift towards digitizing our lives. But, mail still comes!
Whether it's thank you notes, credit card offers, government documents, invitations or bills, your mailbox is likely to have something in it every day.
And that can create a lot of clutter! Especially when it sits for a few days, or when you’re out of town, or when life just gets busy.
If mail clutter is something you struggle with, we’ve laid out a few ways to help tackle the paper beast of snail mail.
Lynne, the creator of Declutter Go! added a paper dice specifically to tackle the paper clutter problem:
“My clients, friends, and family still complain about how much junk mail comes and managing mail in general.”
— Lynne Poulton
Declutter Go!® is a great tool to cut down on paper clutter, and when it comes to mail specifically, we’ve outlined some things you can do to make it more manageable.
Set up a System
A Mail Place
First things first: Figure out where you want to process your mail. Whether it be your office, kitchen, foyer… be consistent and use the same location every time the mail comes. This will build your muscle memory. Maybe you have a bin you can use, or an interesting end table that you never had a use for - feel free to make the space fun and inviting, so that you’re more likely to complete the task at hand!
Once you’ve created a dedicated space for processing your mail, make sure you have all of the proper tools. For example: a stapler, files, a shredder, pens, post-it notes, stamps, and whatever else you need to make your sorting successful.
Do it Daily
Your mail comes 6 out of 7 days a week. Take 10 minutes out of the day to make sure the sorting doesn’t run away from you! While processing, decide if the mail goes in a “holding box”, where you will later process and make decisions, or in the trash/recycling. Something that goes in the “holding box” could be a wedding invitation that needs an RSVP, or a letter that you want to answer. It’s something that can’t be decided immediately until further action is taken.
Dump the Junk
Now that you’ve got items in your “holding box” get rid of any and all junk mail. Credit card offers, catalogs you don’t want, real estate flyers, coupons you wouldn’t use, and any advertisements that aren’t relevant to you. Try to be honest about any mail offers that seem appealing, but that you know deep down you won’t take advantage of - and that it’s okay not to! You could even pitch the “innards” of credit card bills, and only keep the statement page. Some helpful websites to remove your information from junk mail lists are Opt Our Prescreen & Catalog Choice. Click the links to learn more.
Once you’ve decided what to keep and what to toss, there are many ways to further organize your mail clutter. You could
Save it up and take it to a free shred service quarterly.
Put the mail where it needs to be
Take your bills to your computer or desk, put the wedding invitation next to the wall calendar, take catalogs/magazines/newsletters to your reading area
Use sticky notes: leave notes on your mail with the next action you need to take! (pay, call, file, ect.)
Designate spots for family
This could be, for example, outside their bedroom door, at their dinner spot, on your spouse’s chair, or in a cubby designated for each family member.
Want to add more fun to decluttering your mail? Roll the Declutter Go! dice and
see where it takes you! In this instance, swap out the action die for the paper die, and then follow the prompts as usual. You may want to focus solely on mail, or you could end up tackling lots of other paper clutter too! If it's been awhile since your mail was sorted, try playing Declutter Go!® before setting up a system, to refresh and reset.