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Clutter Free: Mail


This post is Day 3 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series.

Today’s de-cluttering focus is mail. We already have a fairly good system in place for dealing with incoming mail. The problem is that we don’t always use the system routinely enough to really control the paper clutter.

It usually takes about a week of mail piling up on the kitchen table or counter for us to finally sort it to where it belongs. And since yesterday was the day this week that I took care of our pile, I don’t have a before picture!

But here’s where the mail goes when it’s sorted:

  • my magazines into a basket in the living room
  • Will’s magazines into the office
  • bills into a bin on Will’s desk (he’s in charge of these)
  • coupons into a drawer in the kitchen
  • other important mail that needs to be read/dealt with in the chalkboard tray in the kitchen (see below)


Since the chalkboard tray was included in yesterday’s Entryway de-cluttering, it looks pretty tidy right now. But our second problem with mail is that all too often, we leave it in this tray way too long and stuff gets pushed to the back and forgotten. RSVPs get missed, letters go unread. So one of my goals is to sort the mail as soon as I bring it in – it really only takes about two minutes, so I’m not sure why I always put it off.

Also, having a certain day of the week to take mail out of this tray and read/respond to/toss each item will ensure it doesn’t overflow. I hereby declare Mondays to be mail days – adding it to my weekly cleaning schedule.

Here are some other tips for dealing with mail clutter:

  • When paper invitations arrive, put the event on your calendar right away and toss the invite. I write any reminders like “buy gift” or “wear something casual” in my planner so I don’t forget any details that I might not remember without the invite visible.
  • On the walk back from the mailbox each day, stop at the trash can to throw away junk mail. It’s much easier to corral when it doesn’t even make it into the house.
  • RSVP as soon as you get an invite. I struggle with this one…but I know how annoying it is to not get RSVPs, so I’m trying to do better!
  • Unsubscribe from catalogs you don’t want to receive. I’ve done this for a few but have a ways to go.
  • Use online billing as much as you can. Less paper bills=less clutter.

Do you have any other tips for handling mail? I’d love to hear.

Okay, it’s Friday night – time to couch it up with the hubs and Netflix. Happy weekend!



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. A mantra I’ve always heard in regards to paperwork clutter of all kinds (including mail) is “File Don’t Pile”. In other words, file things right away rather than let them pile up thinking you’ll file it “tomorrow”. I’m not good about sticking with this, but it is great advice!

    October 5, 2014
    • Grace #

      I like that! Always easier to remember something when it rhymes! :)

      October 7, 2014

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