How to Organize Clutter Disguised as Mail

When it comes time to organize clutter, paperwork is often a big challenge. There is just so much of it, and it comes into the house from so many different directions!

Dealing with the Mail

Step #1 First of all, divide the mail between recipients immediately. In our house, that's myself, my husband, and our son and daughter-in-law who live with us.

Each of us has a mail slot. What is not mine to open goes in the appropriate mail slot so that I never have to touch it again. I also put flyers that I know they would like to see, but I am not interested in, into their slots. I only want to organize clutter that is mine - not the other adults' living in my house!

Step #2 You do not want to spend time figuring out how to organize clutter that should have been disposed of, therefore, I highly recommend this tried and true piece of advice that is a great second step in getting control of your mail

Always go through the mail next to the garbage/recycling bin.

Immediately toss out the following (shredding items when appropriate):

1. Flyers/advertising for items or services that you are not in the market for

2. The outside envelopes of all mail, unless you need the return address

3. Those sales inserts that you get with your bills, unless you are in the market for the item advertised

4. Return envelopes for any bills that you pay online

5. Most of your unsolicited mail

That should leave you with:

1. Bills & statements

2. Personal correspondence

3. Only those flyers/advertising/unsolicited items that you are interested in and have the time to review

Step #3 Immediately take items to the place where you will read/deal with them.

1. Bills and statements should go to the home office space, whether it's an actual office, or a corner of the kitchen.

Have a place specifically for unpaid bills - a file folder, an in-box, whatever works best for you. Put the bills and statements there immediately.

Make sure that the person who pays the bills know where they are - if you need to organize clutter in your office when it's time to pay the bills, things may get missed - not a good thing!

2. Personal correspondence should go wherever you like to read it. Next to your favorite chair for the next time you sit down with your favorite beverage, in the office (not with the bills!) if that's where you read your correspondance - wherever you prefer.

Mine goes in my mail slot in the kitchen, because I like to read while I am making dinner. When I am done - I put it in my husband's mail slot for him to read.

3. The remaining household flyers/advertising I check through, often while making dinner, or later that evening after the dishes are cleared.

First thing I do is go through the flyers that I know others will want to see (that's Canadian Tire and Sears at our house). Anything I need goes on my shopping list, and the flyer is passed to the next reader.

Then I go through the grocery store flyers. I have to confess that I don't look at them all - I have my 3 or 4 favorites. I also carefully check to make sure that potential savings are worth the extra time to go to an additional store. Often they are not. I note any items of interest, and then throw the flyers in the recycling.

If I need to check something a second time, I will go online.

The last flyers are ones I love to browse, but don't plan to buy from - Michaels Arts and Crafts, any home decorating stores, greenhouse/gardening stores. I might look at them right away, or put them aside by my reading chair for later browsing.

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