Sunday, July 13, 2008

Organizing Your Mail

Six days a week it comes in. Six days of junk mailers, catalogs, bank credit card offers, real estate postcards, and, unfortunately, bills.

How do you handle all that mail? Here are a few tips on reducing the amount of mail you receive and ways to dispose of the mail you don’t want.

No Junk Mail

Junk Mail: Contact the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at to have your name removed from most mailing lists.

Catalogs: We all get them. Every time we order something from a catalog, it seems that the number of catalogs we get multiplies by ten. This month, set aside all the catalogs you get. Keep them in two piles – those you like and will order from and those you will never use. At the end of the month, discard any duplicates from the don’t want pile and spend a few minutes calling each company to request that you be removed from their mailing list.

Credit card offers: Open up the envelopes, and recycle the incoming envelopes and any other papers other than the actual credit card offer which should be shredded. Always shred rather than toss any documents containing your name and/or account number to prevent identity theft.

Magazines: If a month goes by and you haven’t read last month’s issue, it’s time to reevaluate how important that magazine is to you. Keep only those magazines you love and read each month. Cancel any that are being left unread or unfinished. Make sure you recycle your magazines after you’ve read them. I take mine to the nail shop down the street.

Other junk mail: Mailers from real estate agents, dry cleaners and other local vendors should be recycled as soon as they come into the house. If possible, contact the vendor and ask to be removed from their mailing list.

Bills: Unfortunately, we can’t ignore these. Try registering for online banking with your local bank, cutting down on postage costs. You can sit down and pay all your bills at one time and designate the amount and date on which you want the payment to clear. You can also request paperless billing as an alternative. Or, if online banking’s not your preference, set aside a specific area on your desk where “bills to pay” are kept. Set aside a time twice a month to pay your bills.

recycling bin

Begin to control all your incoming mail by handling it daily - preferably as soon as you bring it into the house. Have a recycling container handy where you open the mail. If you have specific spots in your home for your mail, (bills to pay, magazines/periodicals to read, etc.) you can learn to keep a handle on the incoming mail.

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