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Tips for dealing with mail clutter

by respaced on May 26, 2010

Mail clutter can be so exasperating! It is hard to stay on top of it when new mail comes into the house every single day, and every piece has to be examined and acted on, even if it is just to recycle it. Here are some tips to help you deal with your mail headache:

1. Don’t pick up the mail unless you have the time necessary to sort it, file it, recycle it, or shred it right then and there (figure about 10-15 minutes). This will go a long way toward eliminating those stacks on the counter that you will get to “later.”

2. Get a vertical file folder and about 5-6 folders. Put your mail into 5-6 categories such as bills, statements, correspondence, Netflix, etc. and label each folder with a category. When you pick up the mail, put what you are keeping into one of the folders on the counter. I recommend filing your mail vertically rather than horizontally (such as in in/out stacking trays) because it is much easier to see what you have at a glance.

3. Keep your paper recycling box, trash can, shredder and vertical file folders near each other to make mail sorting go fast.

4. When you have 10-15 minutes to check the mail, sort it, shred it and recycle it right then and there. Resolve to not put anything into piles. Piling means you are putting off making decisions.

5. Follow the links on Metro’s website to get your name off of junk mail lists for five years. Once you have removed your name and address, it may take 6-8 weeks to see the reduction in junk mail. Be patient. After that time period, you will see a huge reduction in your mail volume. 

Image courtesy of Daily Mail UK. I don’t recommend filing your mail this way.

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