Mail-Organizing Checklist

You've got (too much) mail. Tackle those persistent piles of paper with these mailbox-managing strategies.

  1. Check Create an in-box.

    Designate something as a mail in-box, such as a pretty basket or tray. It can be anything that will hold about a week’s worth of mail, but no more than that.

  2. Check Set up a recycling bin.

    Place a recycling bin or trash can near the in-box, so you’ll have a place to throw all the junk mail that you don’t intend to open.

  3. Check Buy a shredder.

    Consider a paper shredder to dispose of documents with personal information and account numbers. This will help reduce the risk of identity theft.

  4. Check Designate a container for magazines and catalogs.

    Separate bulky magazines and catalogs from your other mail. The container should be portable so you can easily move the items around the house for perusing. The container should be big enough to hold a month’s worth of reading, but small enough that it forces you to get rid of the old when the new comes in.

  5. Check Create a file for outstanding bills.

    Sort your bills into a portable file tote so that you can carry it with you from room to room. This way you can pay the bills wherever you like, making it feel like less of a chore. Keep a checkbook, pens, stamps, and envelopes in a back pocket of your file tote.

  6. Check Set up long-term storage.

    Bank statements, insurance claims, paid bills, and other important documents need a place to go once you review them. A file cabinet is ideal, but any box that holds files inside it will work fine. Organize files by using broad subjects, then create subcategories. Write up labels and alphabetize so it’s easy to locate what you’re looking for.

  7. Check Create a binder.

    If you have trouble getting rid of old magazines, rip out the articles that interest you and store them in a binder. Use tabs to divide the articles into sections. You can do the same with catalogs.

  8. Check Donate and recycle.

    Consider donating old magazines to your local library, hospital, or other charitable organization, and recycle all else.