Alright, alright, subscribers are wondering what the heck is going on around here. This post about organizing mail was so organized, that it got published before it was ready for you! Oops!
I could use the excuse that I’ve been too busy cuddling my new baby. Did I mention that we named her Nina Natalia? She might be a teensy bit spoiled already.
Or I could use the excuse that I’ve been kind of busy with the launch of the newest Amazon Bestseller, and hopefully your favorite new organizing book. Why yes, that is Oprah looking over at my book and saying, GIRL, #1 on Amazon? I knew you could do it!
Don’t call the Oprah Police on me people. She’s really advertising for Weight Watchers, but we can have a bit of fun, right?
So, sorry if this post about mail didn’t get completely filled out before it left the stable. I know getting tips on how to organize mail is important to you. Mail is one of the things that I get asked about the most.
Because we can’t just organize mail with a match, now can we? 😉
The problem with most people and their mail is that they want to LAY IT ALL OUT on a LARGE FLAT SURFACE and make a BUNCH OF PILES to see what they’ve got.
And then when that large flat surface gets covered, you know what happens next…you move on to the next LARGE FLAT SURFACE.
Folks, there is a better way.
Five adults and a home-based business share this space, and so we decided to try another approach, using a six-section cubby sorter. I should say we in air quotes, because the mister was really resistant to not doing what he’d always done, sorting out mail into piles on the nearest large flat surface. But he was game and gave it a whirl.
The missus really wanted to have her LARGE FLAT SURFACES back for things like, you know, dinner. So we appropriated some shelf space in a nearby closet, and set up a mail sorting station, like you would see in a larger office or dorm. In order to make this work, there are a few must-do’s:
- Label all the cubbies so that everyone knew which box was for what purpose.
- Along with a label, we actually drew an arrow down on the top of each box, so it was pretty clear that the label belonged to the cubby underneath each label. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, ya know?
- We brought two bins into the closet, one for recycling and one for shredding.
- The closet already had a light, but we would have had to install a light to make this work.
- We removed the brooms, so we could just open the door and sort, and not have to jockey over brooms.
- We added a large wicker bin and labeled it the INBOX for UNSORTED MAIL ONLY.
- Most importantly, we explained how this would work to everyone who would be using the mail station.
Anyone is allowed to bring the mail from outside the house to inside the house. But no one is required to sort through the mail every day.
Whoever sorts the mail, some or all of it, puts mail into the appropriate cubbies, recycle bin or shredding bins. What you see below in the wicker “inbox” is about a month’s worth of mail. This was kind of our tester case, because normally you wouldn’t wait a whole month to go through your mail. 🙂
It took about 2 hours for the mister to sort through all the mail from the last month. He now has discrete piles, and can carry them into his office, sit down, and immediately get to work taking care of bills, taxes and such.
The missus also has a small set of files on a rolling rack in this closet. That’s all she needs, and it’s all nice and handy.
The kids don’t get that much mail, so all of them share that lower left hand box. It’s empty in this picture because they had just picked up their mail. Those two boxes on the floor in the bottom right of the picture? That’s going out in the recycle and shredding batch.
Not everyone needs a mail handling solution at home that is this complex, but with five adults and a home-based business, this is actually pretty straightforward.
Of course, the work in the mail still needs some attention, but at least things are safely stored until there is time to sit down and work on it. And by batching the sorting all together in a once-a week job (or thereabouts), these folks will save a bundle of time each month.
And perhaps most importantly, everyone can sit down to dinner without having to excavate mail from the dining room table.
Like this idea, but need a smaller version? Take a look at a mudroom rail station using magazine files.
Will any of these ideas work for you?