When you organize or declutter your home, you often think of bigger-picture items first—outgrown clothing, children’s toys that are no longer played with, or other items you don’t use daily that take up space. But have you considered mail as clutter? Here are some mail organization ideas to help you declutter what you don’t need and find what you do!
Mail is Clutter Too!
Staying on top of your mail is an important step in reducing the unnecessary things in your home. In this post, you will learn how to get rid of the mail clutter, how to stop it at the door, why it’s important to create a vertical storage system! Mail organization isn’t as hard as it seems!
Just like you can unsubscribe from junk mail in your email inbox, you can unsubscribe from actual paper mail — but it’s going to take some time and effort.
Since most of your mail comes from different sources, you may have to unsubscribe in a few places. Stop junk mail by checking out this post and following the various links. Get your name off that list!
Stop the Clutter Before it Enters the House
How many times do you check the mail and then mindlessly toss it on the counter when you walk in the door?
The easiest way to declutter your home is to not bring clutter into the house at all. If you’ve got a mailbox near the curb, keep a recycling can in your garage or near the front entrance of your house.
Stopping junk (boxes, mail, packaging, etc.) at the door is the first step to decluttering mail. You choose the items you let into your home. And do so decisively!
The best way to keep clutter out of your home is to adopt the mindset of what needs to enter it. If it doesn’t need to come into your home, discard it at the door. Filter out what can and can’t come into your space before it piles up inside.
Create a Short-Term Paper Storage System for Mail Organization
While I always recommend dealing with mail AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, we often we can’t get to it immediately. Maybe we need to make dinner when we get home instead of paying a bill or making a phone call.
It can be tempting to make a pile of mail, even sorted mail, on your counter or desk to deal with later, but DON’T!
Instead, opt for some kind of vertical filing system. You can use a file holder attached to the wall, a magnetic file on your fridge, a magazine file, or a small file holder in a corner — the way you do it doesn’t matter!
A vertical system (rather than a pile) is a great way to help organize your mail. Store your papers — short term — until you can handle them.
Vertical storage gives you a limit, lets you leaf through it quickly to find what you need, and keeps your surfaces clear. The pages are less likely to become damaged when stored this way, too.
Create a Mail Organization Routine
Routines prevent clutter. Having a system or routine in place means you know what to do and when. By creating a routine such as “Sunday Sorting,” you already know when and what you will do to help decrease mail clutter. This gives you a specific time to tackle papers you saved for later.
The first step is to create a vertical storage system, as we talked about above. But you can’t forget to go back through it!
Protect Your Identity by Investing in a Shredder
Once you handle your papers, most can be recycled, but what about those that contain personal information? The best and safest way to get rid of unwanted mail is to shred it.
This process reduces the space your discarded mail takes up in both the environment and your recycling can. It can also protect you from fraud or identity theft. As you declutter and stop mail from entering your home, be sure you’re also shredding important documents.
Shred anything ranging from social security numbers to names, birth dates or mortgage payments, and other sensitive personal information. Investing in a shredder is a practical and safe way to stay on top of mail clutter. Shredding documents immediately takes seconds. But shredding a large pile of mail that has stacked up over weeks or months? That can be precious time wasted.
While shredding discarded or unwanted mail protects you, it’s also a quick, compact, and concrete way to banish unwanted junk from your home. Invest in a home shredder or head to an office supply store and have them shred your papers for a fee.
Create a Long-Term Paper Storage System for Mail Organization
When you have a category of papers — credit cards, financial, student loans, etc. — create a file for it. Put those papers in a file and label the tab.
When you go through your papers on your designated day, recycle or shred what you don’t need and add your keepers to the file. Make this a routine. Write it on your calendar for the first of every month.
Go Digital – No More Visual Clutter
A way to be selective about what or how much mail enters your home is to go digital. By stopping the envelopes from ever coming through your mailbox, you’re already taking out a step. Embrace the times, set up digital payments and notifications.
No more eyesores on your counter. No more mail taking up precious space in your important file system. Staying on top of that mailbox is important in reducing the paper clutter that comes into your home at all!
Mail Organization Ideas
The bottom line? Keep as little mail as possible. Handle the rest quickly and file what you must.
File away as little mail as you can. Be selective. Do you really need it? Does it need a space in your house? Being decisive prevents clutter from sticking around once it enters your home. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless about what deserves to stay!
Sometimes we think bigger items take up the most mental and visual space in our homes. But small, daily actions make a difference too. Piles of mail add up! And the easiest way to get rid of the clutter we have in our homes (especially the paper clutter) is to stop it at the door! If it gets through your door, be decisive and intentional in how you handle it.
We hope these mail organization ideas helped you get motivated to tackle your piles! Tell us — what’s your biggest challenge for mail?