Tips for Organizing your Mail

MAIL! It drives us crazy! Yes, me too. I had a beautiful command center system set up until 2016 and with the flood, came chaos for my system. We haven’t gotten back on track until just recently. 3 years people….I’m an organizer who was letting mail get the best of me! Until now…

My old system was perfect for our busy family. We had a piece of furniture with 4 drawers in it so each person had a drawer. My husband and I would put the mail items that needed our attention in our drawers, which was handled daily or weekly. The kids kept their papers that needed referencing throughout the year in their drawers. Their drawers were cleaned out at the end of each school year and the papers were either recycled or filed into a file with their school year at the top.

Simple, right?

Well, after the flood, we remodeled and that piece of furniture is no longer where we walk in the door. What was I thinking? While the mail was getting handled (kind of!), the solution was piles on my dining room table or kitchen counter. Not a solution at all. It was time to find a new system.

Tip: Never handle paper more than once if you can.

Because the old system worked so well, I wanted the new system to be similar. I decided to use my vertical wall space. I ordered a set of these wood wall files from Ballard Design and I love them. Now each person has a pocket. The pockets are (file) deep so our action items are kept in a file folder. (I’m thinking of adding a cup hook for keys on the side as well)

TIP: My junk mail never enters the house. It goes straight into my recycle bin.

School/medical papers that are necessary to keep go into a file in that person’s bin.

My own bin has the following folders.

  • Pay/Do: This file usually contains bills, invitations that need a gift (I immediately put the date on the calendar before dropping it into the file.), insurance explanation of benefits for me to double check, etc. If you are one that needs to see items to remember them, try adding a bulletin board or magnet board to your command area.

  • Reference: Anything that I may need to refer back to in the coming months. This file is usually empty, but every now and then, I need to hang onto something.

  • File: This, too, stays pretty slim. I don’t keep copies of anything that can be found online or that I can easily get a copy of such as statements or bills. I’m pretty brutal about the things I keep in my filing box. (Yes, a box! Not a cabinet!)

I do keep anything I would need for taxes or that would be more difficult to attain. (Lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, birth or wedding certificates, dog’s rabies vaccination and microchip papers, etc.) What do you need to keep? That is something to decide on your own with guidance from your accountant or attorney. I try to file once a month. If you keep more, weekly filing may be needed.

Since I love my SBO community of organizers, I thought I‘d share some tips and tricks from some of the other organizers that I admire. Enjoy!

Tidy Tip from Sort and Sweet if you need help with organizing your taxes! Watch video here.

Christy Lingo @ Simple Solutions has a podcast dealing with paper clutter. (There is an awesome cocktail recipe too!)