Friday, April 30, 2010

Mission Organization: Part 2 Managing Your Mail

If you are like me you love to get mail! An exciting part of my day is walking to the mailbox and seeing what is inside, especially if I am expecting something! However, it can quickly pile up and become a daunting task deciding what to do with it all. I am excited to have found The 15 Minute Organizer, a book by Emilie Barnes, that a great friend let me borrow. I was overjoyed to find a chapter on "How to Manage Your Mail." I am hoping that the advice I found in this chapter will help me change my "mail messy" ways for good!

Barnes gives us three easy steps in organizing our mail.
1.) Designate an area where you open and process your mail.
2.) Don't let it pile up. Make sure you go through your mail daily and determine what is important and what can be thrown away.
3.) Make decisions--don't put it down, put it away, and don't be a mail scooter. I fit into this category. I have a pile of mail that usually ends up on my kitchen island and then when I clean I end up moving the pile or "scooting" it up to my study/office.

Barnes advises to make categories:
  • Throwaway mail-junk mail, advertisements, etc.
  • Mail you need to read, but don't have time for now
  • Mail you need to file away, such as bills, insurance papers, and receipts.
  • Mail you need to ask someone about--husband, children, etc.
  • Mail that needs a phone call.
  • Mail to be answered. Personal letters, forms to be filled out and returned, RSVP's for invitations.
All of these categories can be labeled on a file folder and put into a file box or cabinet. I have decided to put mine in folders but keep them in a desktop organizer so they are easily accessible. With file folders we still need to be aware of piles ups as now they will be out of sight, just don't put them out of mind.

I like some of the tips that Barnes gives.
  • Toss the junk mail. It is a time waster, just toss it. Don't fall into the trap of "I might use this or need this someday," because you very likely will not.
  • I love this idea! When you don't have time to read publications, place them in a file folder and take them with you in the car. When you have time to read them (waiting at the doctor's office, for children, or even in a long line) you can have time to catch up on your mail reading.
  • Make address changes immediately upon receipt! I often will say I will make the change later and then when I need the new address the paper is missing. If you do it immediately this will not occur.
  • An RSVP should be answered as soon as you know your plans. This is a common courtesy to the host or hostess.
  • Mark dates on your calendar as soon as they arrive. Also write down birthdays, appointments, and other significant reminders immediately. With our busy lives it is best to not rely on our memories!
Taken from The 15 Minute Organizer by Emilie Barnes. Pages 206-207.

Now onto what I did. I searched online and found some great ideas for organizing mail. Some varied in price. One of my favorite ideas I found at the Container Store. It is a stainless steal magnetic wall pocket. You could then put the file folders in here and hang it on a wall or refrigerator. It costs $21.99 at the container store. However, when I was at Target today (I love that store), I found a desk organizer for $4.99 and pretty file folders (to make it fun) for $3.99 (for 12 folders). So for a total of $9.00 I am set! Here is my set up! I love sliding the mail into its corresponding spot, especially since the folders are so fun! I have never had any kind of folder other than the plain manilla folders. I just might be able to keep this system running!

I would love to hear your tips and tricks on organizing mail. Leave me a comment!
Happy Organizing!

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Kate! I'm always needing to improve my organizing! Thanks for the tips!!!!