Merry Mail, Or 5 Ways to Organize Mail During the Holidays

Seriously, if I’m annoyed by the amount of mail I got this week, you probably are, too.  I’ll show you my pile if you show me yours.
 Organizing piles of mail
This pile is from just one day.  There are more than 13 catalogs, and 3 pieces of mail from Comcast alone!
Here are a few tips, good for the holiday season and all year through.
  1. Wait to go through your mail until you have a few uninterrupted moments.  Glancing through a stack gives you the false impression that you’ve done something with it. It sends your brain a message that you can move on to other activities, and your unprocessed mail then becomes clutter.
  2. Immediately recycle everything that doesn’t require your action.  Here’s where it gets tricky.  Go ahead and put those catalogs in the recycling bin.  WHHAATT???   If you don’t look at them between now and the next recycling day, chances are that Williams Sonoma, LL Bean and Victoria Secret will send you three more by next week.
  3. If you receive a charity notice that you intend to donate to, then immediately place the donation request with your bills, since it requires nearly the same actions as bill paying.
  4. Define a designated space for your bills.  Ensure that bills have a unique place in your office, on your kitchen counter, or somewhere special.  Ideally, keep your bills standing up vertically, so they aren’t easily covered by tomorrow’s mail.  Paying bills may not be on the top of your list right now, but you don’t want your gift budget to be spent on paying late fees!
  5. Be ruthless.  If you aren’t sure if you need to keep something, then don’t keep it.  This is especially true if you know you can request it again from the internet or another source. There are relatively few mail items that are irreplaceable or vital records.

There is a lot to get excited about this time of year, but losing your sanity over mail overload shouldn’t make the list.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. sweetpea06

    Oooh, so excited. I am usually not very organized at home, but I’m great at sorting mail! I always immediately toss catalogs into the recycle bin. I already know that I wasn’t thinking about purchasing something, so anything that grabs my interest is just another thing that I DON’T NEED! Okay, I do keep the Justice catalogs for my 9-year-old, because she does enjoy looking through them. I get LLBean catalogs too, which is funny to me because I don’t think that I dress like that ever, at all. It must be because I lived in Colorado once. 🙂 Thanks, as always, for the great advice!

    1. HeartWork Organizing

      I know what you mean about keeping some of the catalogs for the kids. There are a few that we keep because we cut out outfits for paper dolls. That’s not clutter, that’s just fun!

  2. Sarah Lawrence Hinson


    Great post! I definitely have done no 2. for a while. Our recycling bin is in the garage and I pick up from a PO Box so the mail is in my car and unwanted junk mail does not make it into the house – hooray!

    No. 4. is definitely one for me to work on. I end up with a couple of ‘action’ piles, which currently are sitting on the kitchen counter and in basket in my office respectively. Going to make a formal place for this cause this has been annoying me for a while.

    It’s important – this causes people a lot of stress that nobody needs.

    Have a great Christmas Season!


    1. HeartWork Organizing

      Sara, good luck on pinning down those piles. If you have an upright napkin holder, you know, the kind that is shaped like a U, that can be a great frugal tool for keeping bills upright. If you have more than will fit in a napkin holder, you might be keeping too much stuff in your action pile. Then again, you might need a basket or other holder. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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