Wednesday, June 10, 2009

5 Organizing Tips to Beat the Mail Monster: June Newsletter

It's another Works-For-Me Wednesday! Stop over at We Are THAT Family for more tips and ideas.

The daily mail - Do you dread it? Do you pile it? Do you avoid it? It must be dealt with or it will take over your counters, suck up your important papers and drain your energy every time you look at the piles.
Here are 5 tips that will help you beat that mail monster.

Tip # 1: Develop a Routine. Pick a time of the day that you can devote to sorting through the mail. This should take you about 5 minutes. Is there a time that you are not distracted? What about getting up 15 minutes earlier than the kids? Or, are you a night person that gets stuff done after everyone else is asleep?

Tip #2: Designate a Spot. Do you have one spot that the mail goes to when it comes into your house? Or, do you just set it down anywhere? Picking a home for the mail keeps you from searching and saying, "I know I just saw that somewhere." Of course my favorite and effective system is a Household Action Center. Have a recycling bin close by!

Tip # 3: Make Decisions. Barbara Hemphill, Author of Taming the Paper Tiger, says "clutter is postponed decisions." Most likely, those piles of paper and mail are sitting there because you haven't made decisions on those items yet. During my Paper Organizing for Busy Moms workshop, I teach my 3-T Plan™ and you can use this to sort your mail daily and to get through those old piles on your kitchen counters, table, and mudroom.
  1. Take Out -Get rid of (recycle, shred, throw) the stuff right away that you don't need! That includes junk mail, flyers, the envelopes the stuff comes in, expired coupons and anything else that you don't need in your home sucking up your energy.

  2. Take Action - If something requires action from you, pick a time and/or a date that you can do it. Put it on your calendar like you are scheduling an appointment with yourself.
  3. Take Back or To File - Got stuff that you have to file or take to another part of the house? Take it there once you are done sorting through the pile.

Tip #4: Follow-Up. Yes, you have to continue dealing with mail on a regular basis. If you deal with your incoming mail and papers on a daily basis, it's much easier and less time consuming.

Tip #5: Eliminate What You Can. Think of ways you can keep that paper from ever entering your home. Are you taking advantage of paperless statements through email? What about online bill paying? Are you finding that you just don't have time to read all the magazines and newspapers you get? Should you eliminate some of those subscriptions? Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for more information on opting out of receiving unwanted solicitations.

If you are ready to take control of the mail, start from this point going forward. Then, go back through the old piles bit by bit. Set and reach mini goals. Set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes chunks. Focus on one pile or area at a time. You'll be amazed at how much you can get through in a short amount of time. You can make the decision to beat the mail monster!

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Helene said...

Okay, so you'll laugh....mail is the one area I'm actually organized in! As soon as I get it, I throw out the junk mail, open the bills and then write the due dates and the amts on the envelope and then store those in my bill binder, magazines go upstairs in my hubby's office and letters/fun stuff gets put in a stacker I have on the kitchen counter.

Creative Junkie said...

OK - this is one area that we're pretty good at. We go through the mail immediately, throw out what we don't need and the rest goes into our bill collector thing.


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