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How to Stop the Paper Trail – Mail

This week we’re going to work on stopping the paper trail as it pertains to mail.  We’re going to work through 3 things this week (all are detailed today).  First off, here are a couple simple guidelines regarding mail if you want it to pile up less.
  • open your mail over the recycling or garbage can – toss junk mail in the recycling can in your garage
  • quickly separate mail – open bills and put them in a bill paying spot – dispose of any extras that come with the bills, have a designated spot for other mail that you need to come back to
  • pay your bills electronically if you can and/or want to (we’ll talk more about bills and bill paying next week)
  • sign up for ebills to limit paper bills
Second, set up a mail station – even if it’s as simple as a basket to catch your mail.  Set something up that’s easy to access for any family member that brings mail and paper into the house. Here are a couple ideas:

 

Once you’ve set up a system (remember, it can be as simple as a basket), then you’ll want to figure out how to limit unwanted paper.  Here are a couple helpful sites and resources that I found while I was researching how to cut down on junk mail:
  • Direct Mail Choice (DMAchoice) - this is the Direct Mail Choice company – if you go to this website, you can select what types of direct mail you receive and what you don’t receive
  • Catalog Choice – this is a free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more
Want more info?  Here are a couple apps and a resource that can help with the paper clutter for those of you that are oh-so-digital:
This app takes all your store cards and reward cards and puts them in one place on your phone – neat!
The Magic Envelope is a resource that sends you a postage paid envelope – you fill it up and then they make all your paper digital – crazy, right?

 

This is a fun app that a reader recommended – you take a photo of your junk mail and PaperKarma gets rid of it for you.
And finally, I’d like to challenge you to CLEAR your surfaces.  If I don’t stay on top of it, there are little and big piles from one end of the kitchen to the next.  Everything from school papers, mail, magazines and catalogs, bills, artwork…..When I start to feel overwhelmed or if I let it go for more than a couple days, it’s too much.  What do I do?  CLEAR everything off and put it in a grocery bag and set it aside.  Then I wipe down the surfaces, arrange what’s supposed to be there, and I don’t put the papers back.  Instead, I sort through them right away and put them in their proper place or I set the bag aside until I have time to get to it.  (This will only work if you get to the bag later in the day or by the next – you don’t want to start a habit of having bags of stuff stashed around the house.)  Another helpful tip is to add ‘declutter’ to your daily cleaning routine.  Like everything else, doing a little bit everyday is easier than trying to tackle everything all at once.
I’ll be back this week to talk more about how to deal with mail clutter and I’ll be sharing my ‘mail station’ as well.
How do you limit your mail clutter?  Any great tips to share?
Click here to see all the posts in this series.
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Comments

  1. This is perfect. My biggest source of paper mess is the reams of mail we get here, none of it very exciting. I think I will have to dig out one of my old paper trays tomorrow and create a new designated mail area.

  2. These are great tips! I just moved into my new apartment a few months ago, though, so we really don’t get much mail. As much as I’d like to try to set up a mail station, 4/5 of my mail gets delivered to my dad’s address still!

  3. Do you know where I can find the blue woven storage baskets? I followed the links but didn’t see a source to buy them. Thanks!

  4. No problem! Thanks for answering Becky, I will keep searchin. And thanks for the xo! ;)

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