There are weeks when I check the mail daily and there are days when I haven’t checked the mail in almost a week. Either way, there is always a guarantee of an abundance of paper that walks into the door with me. I have learned to deal with paper in very specific ways because among bills, kids’ school papers and junk mail, it can act like a fast-growing mold that takes over the counter tops, tabletops and any nook and crevice that a piece of paper can fit into.
If this has ever sounded familiar to you, I’m sharing my top ways to handle all the incoming paper in your life. What I’m sharing is my mail station that works best for me and my family. You can always tweak it to suit your exact needs. The best places I’ve shopped for a mail sorter are HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, Kirkland’s and Target. You can typically find bins, tins, buckets or baskets to create the perfect customized spot for your mail.
I believe any incoming paper should be dealt with in one of three ways:
We have a lot of bills to manage and they all tend to hit at different times of the month. To better manage our budget, I included some sub-folders for the “pay” category and divided them out as so: 1st of the month, 30th of the month and a ‘To File’ folder for those important bill documents such as invoices, major receipts or account statements.
This can be a tricky folder as it is ever rotating and can get filled with things that quickly become outdated. This folder requires a conscious effort to rotate by tossing out the old things when new items come in. I like to check these folders at the end of every week to be sure and respond to anything that may need my attention over the weekend. This way, I’m not having to worry about it during the week when there is so much else going on. These sub-folders include announcements, invites and news we need to know either for the boys’ schools or things for work.
This one is a favorite of mine because, well, I am a keeper at heart after all. However, to not drive myself crazy with having to constantly file items, (and therefore creating more stacks of paper!) I only have three subcategories: work, home and school. Filing for me is more of a monthly task, but you may find it easier to file as you go throughout the month.
Any and all other papers can be tossed! Yes, that may sound too simple to be true, but I can tell you from experience that if you take it down to one of those three basic categories, (and even if you don’t bother with sub-folders) your paper piles will shrink and you’ll hopefully feel more organized about keeping paper clutter under control.
Note: School papers and art projects are currently integrated into my paper sorting system, but I have a sense that they will need to be handled separately and I’m working out a new system for that – which I’ll especially need when C begins Kindergarten this coming fall! Hopefully I can share that with you prior to back-to-school season!
Do you have a different way of managing your paper issues? Share ’em in the comments, I’d love to know!