Do you have a system for storing and organising your mail or does it go something like this? You arrive home either at the end of the working day or after school pick up and grab your mail from the letterbox. You head inside, flicking though your mail as you go to see if anything grabs your attention. You might open one or two envelopes (and groan when you see it’s a bill) and then you dump the mail. It could be on the hall table, maybe the dining room table or your mail might even make it as far as the kitchen bench.
I can definitely relate to that because sorting and organising my mail used to cause me enormous frustration. Most days it would get “lost”, half opened in one big mounting “junk” pile on the kitchen bench. As a consequence, bills were sometimes not paid on time (resulting in late fees), I wasted time looking for important letters or documents that I remembered seeing (just couldn’t remember where) and sometimes appointments and deadlines were overlooked or missed.
So I tackled the problem by creating a “home” or place for my mail to live when it was brought inside until I could allocate some time later in the day to properly sort and process it. By doing this, I changed an old habit and created a new one as follows:
- I collect my mail from the letterbox and, instead of dropping it on the kitchen bench or dining room table, I take it straight to my office/study.
- I purchased a three-tiered magazine rack and set it up on my office desk and clearly labelled each tier … one for incoming mail, one for outgoing mail and one for junk mail. You can download your free copies of the labels below.
- The new incoming mail goes in the first tier at the back behind any letters already there waiting for attention. I like to process my mail in the order it comes in but, if I do recognise any bills, I place those at the front so I can schedule their payment. I try to quickly open everything, which usually takes less than a couple of minutes, so that nothing does get overlooked. But if I am in a hurry, I’ll simply place it in the rack until I have time later in the day or evening to open and go through the mail in more detail.
- I also quickly sort the junk mail. I keep the catalogues that I use and like and place these in the back tier of the rack labelled Junk Mail. Everything else goes in the recycle bin in the kitchen straight away. Now junk mail is one of those things … you either love it or you hate it! I use mine as a tool to save money on the things I need to buy and I also use it for meal planning. I will often plan my weekly meals based on what’s on special. I use these same catalogues when I’m preparing my grocery shopping list.
- The middle tier of my Mail Rack is for outgoing mail. Although I process most bills and communications online by BPay, Direct Debit or email, occasionally I do need to send something by regular post. Once completed, the letter/s get placed in the outgoing mail tray which I check each day before heading out in the car. I also keep some stamps in this tray so they are easily located as well as keeping some in my wallet. The slots in this rack are a generous size, which means it will even accommodate small parcels. I sell a lot of the kids clothes and other unwanted items on ebay so there’s also parcels to be posted.
This system has proved to be simple and effective and really works for me. It’s an easy method to sort and store my mail in one place quickly and neatly so it no longer becomes a pile of messy clutter.
I love the magazine rack I’ve found, however, other types of storage ideas could include: stackable sorting trays, baskets or a desktop organiser. If you are looking for something similar, try homewares stores, department stores and even some furniture stores may be worth a look.
So why not take up the challenge and find a place in your home where you can store your mail each day. Find some kind of rack, container or basket that’s suitable for the purpose and works for you, then get into the habit of putting your mail there each day.
So tell me, do you have a system to organise your mail or does it contribute to your clutter?