Organized and Productive Living

31 Days of Organized Living: Dedicate a Place for Your Mail

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Coming home from work can be hectic: you have to deal with your keys, your sunglasses, your work bag. Sometimes there are small children you are trying to wrangle in the door who want your undivided attention, NOW. Then there is the mail.

Often times the mail gets dumped wherever is closest and it’s left there until a more convenient time comes along to deal with it. That might be a counter in the kitchen, a corner of the dining room table, or it could be an end table in your living room. The problem is when mail gets left to be dealt with later, it often piles up until it is too overwhelming to deal with, and then important mail gets missed and lost in the shuffle.

The best way to deal with the mail is to handle it once, when you first walk in your door. It all takes less then five minutes and then you can move on to the next thing. Sort through the stack and decide on the spot where it is going. In this day and age, most of it will go in your recycle bin, and that part is easy. Then you have bills which should go in their own dedicated spot, which is something I’ll be discussing later on this month. Personal mail, in the way of letters or invitations, should go to your desk to be replied to when you have the time. Then comes the question of what to do with the rest of the mail? The stuff you want to look at, but don’t have the time to do so right then and there?

Have a dedicated place to put that mail – one where you can still see it, because out of sight really does mean out of mind. I keep mine in a  basket that hangs on the side of a cabinet in my kitchen. It previously hung on the side of a door in my kitchen that was right next to where I sort my mail, and on the way out to where our recycling bins are stored. I liked that location much better, but some redecorating efforts made it impractical, and so we moved it across the room. Once a week, usually on a weekend day, the basket gets emptied and the mail that has been placed into it gets sorted through, viewed, and disposed of.

They key to success is sticking to this routine every day and teaching everyone in the household how it works and where each type of mail item goes.

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