A reader asks:
Hey Tara, do you have any posts on tips how to keep mail and junk mail under control? We’re being suffocated by mail!
Surprisingly, I did not have a post on this topic but it is one that I was happy to add to my list. I do have a couple of suggestions for this reader, one having to do with habit building, my favorite topic!
Reduce the mail flow
First I would suggest that you work hard to reduce the mail flow coming in. If you’re an online business, you can easily install an exchange reporting system to automatically remove any junk mail from your inbox. However, in-person with paper mail, things can be a little harder.
Deal with your bills as much as you can electronically online instead of by mail. This will greatly reduce the paper clutter that comes through the mail.
Also, try to stop as much of the junk mail as possible. I have not tried every single one of these suggestions, but here is a great list for who to contact to get off of junk mailers. It is always a good idea to find the root cause of a problem, and this will definitely cut a huge problem at a root.
Don’t start a pile
Second, is a habit based suggestion. When you bring your mail inside, do not even set it down. If it is junk, immediately throw it away in the recycling as soon as you walk inside the house. If it gets set down, you can guarantee a pile will start to form there and before you know it, you are drowning again.
If it is something that needs to be dealt with, hang it up somewhere with a magnet or a pin so that you can deal with it in a timely manner. If it is something like an invitation, put the information in your calendar immediately and throw it away. Important pieces of paper can be scanned and thrown away. There are even apps for smart phones that allow for scanning if you don’t have a full size scanner.
What about kids’ drawings and projects?
This can be a difficult one, especially for children like mine who love to draw and be creative. They are always drawing special pictures that they want to gift mom and dad with. So what is a parent to do? I don’t want to make them think I don’t value them or the gifts they give.
What I do is I have a board where we display the drawings for a bit, and then I take them down and either put them in a binder or small bin or put it in the recycling. It is pretty easy for me to decide. Is this really great or do I have fifty of this same scene? Another option is to take a picture of your children’s creations and let the originals go. If it is truly a treasure to you, please keep it, but let’s be honest. Every stick drawing is not a treasure. You can get rid of it guilt-free.
I hope this is helpful to you! Is paper clutter an issue at your house? What’s your best tip?