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"How to Create an Efficient Paper Mail Organization System at Home"

Many of the people I work with express frustration about managing paper mail. If left unattended, those piles can quickly accumulate, and before you know it, you’re buried in junk mail!


Here are some simple tips to prevent the piles before they happen:


Dispose of it before it enters your home: Strategically place a recycling bin or trash bag near where you typically check your mail. This makes it easy to immediately discard unwanted items and reduces your pile by 80%.

Create a System: Designate a specific area in your home for incoming mail, such as a basket or tray. This will prevent it from cluttering up other spaces and make it easier to manage.

Sort Daily: Set aside time each day, or at least a few times a week, to go through your mail. Sort it into categories like bills, personal correspondence, and important documents. You’re not going to have junk mail because you got rid of that right away, remember?

Digitize When Possible: Consider going paperless for bills and statements. Many companies offer online options for receiving and paying bills, which can help reduce the amount of paper mail you receive. My cell phone company actually provides a discount for going paperless. Also, consider setting up automatic payments or bills that recur monthly.


Use a Filing System: Keep important documents organized by using a filing system. Label folders or binders with categories like insurance, taxes, medical, etc., and file documents accordingly.


Opt-Out of Unsolicited Mail: You can reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by opting out of prescreened credit card offers and other unsolicited mail. Visit websites like to learn how to opt-out.


Handle Mail Once: When you go through your mail, try to handle each piece only once. Decide whether to keep, shred, recycle, or take action on it immediately to avoid letting it pile up. With our busy schedules and post-work exhaustion, this can be tricky, so you could designate a mail day instead. Choose one day each week to take care of any mail-related tasks, such as paying bills, responding to correspondence, and filing documents.


Regular Maintenance: Periodically review your filing system and purge any documents you no longer need. This will prevent unnecessary clutter from accumulating over time. Explore my paper timeline guide for details on how long to retain specific items:

Paperwok Guide
Download PDF • 89KB


By implementing these tips and developing a routine for managing your paper mail, you can keep it from getting out of hand and maintain a clutter-free living space.

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