8 Clutter-Cutting Strategies for Managing Mail

Paper clutter is real—a real pain, that is. One of the main sources for a constant influx of paper products from 8"-by-11" sheets to pamphlets and envelopes is an overflowing mailbox. Fortunately, we have all of the tools to tackle a towering pile of correspondence and junk mail. Add a few of these strategies into your weekly routine and you'll be set to see a slimmer stack of envelopes in no time.

Mail Drop Spot

Mail Organizer

Start by setting up a drop spot near your entryway. A catchall for your daily deliveries becomes the ultimate lifesaver, be it a low basket or this mail-specific organizer from. Here, you can take action immediately—weed through what is junk, important, and everyday correspondence—or save to attend to at a break later in the week. so a catchall for the mail pile becomes the ultimate life saver. Available at Amazon; $39.98.


Manage Your Magazine Subscriptions

Digital Magazine Subscriptions

Subscribe to a lot of magazines? For a clutter-free home, keep only two issues of each: the current and last month’s edition. The rest should be recycled. If you're one who likes to hold onto the back issues, consider signing up for a subscription with NextIssue, an app that lets you read almost any magazine available on newsstand—and their back issues—digitally for as low as $9.99 a month.


Get Online

Go Paperless

Slim down your mail pile considerably by switching to paperless statements. Once you make the digital move with online accounts for banking and billing, you can start saving checks, envelopes, and stamps by electing to pay online. Another bonus? You have the option to schedule repeat payments—which means no more late fees! Check with your bank and utility companies for more information.

Related:  Under $50: 10 Must-Haves for an Organized Desk


Keep Track of Important Dates

Family Calendar Ideas

A lot of save-the-dates come through the mail: Birthday invitations, due dates for bills, flyers for PTA meetings, and so on. Keep a calendar and pen nearby your mail organizer to note important dates as soon as you have them—once they're on the calendar, you can often scrap the piece of paper. By using a dry erase board, you’ll have added flexibility to wipe off and move things around easily.


Ready to Recycle

Stop Junk Mail

While you're saying goodbye to clutter, why not be eco-friendly about it? For junk mail that's already at hand, keep a recycling bin or designated receptacle right next to wherever you read your mail. Going forward, consider opting out of unwanted catalogs and junk mail—the stuff you toss without reading anyway—through a free services like Catalog Choice.


Save Your Identity from Spammers

Shredding Paper

We all hate having to weed through junk mail, particularly the ever-persistent credit card offers. Tossed right into the trash, though, and any barcodes that appear on the envelopes or letters can link off to personal information valuable to identity thieves. Invest in a quality shredder to destroy anything too personal, and stow it with your designated letter-opening station. Available at Amazon; $29.99.


File it Away

Filing Documents

Unfortunately, there are some documents you can't shred. Most accountants recommend that you hold on to past tax returns for at least seven years, and you can expect to keep critical records, like those relating to your mortgage, for as long as you're living in the house. With that in mind, setting up an organized filing system for the important incoming papers is a smart move. Luckily, all it takes is a filing cabinet, some dividers, and some persistence.  

Related:  Order in the House: 10 Smart DIY Filing Solutions


Make It a Habit

How to Sort Mail

Now, set a routine in place. Be it immediately on your way in the door or after dinner, make a habit of sorting through your mail. Set aside the important stuff—the bills you need to pay and the catalogs you look forward to perusing. The rest? Toss it in the recycling bin (or send it through the shredder). No doubt the cast-offs outnumber the keepers. But for the strategy to work, diligence is key. Put a cap in place that your pile never grows to more than a week's worth of post.


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