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How to Deal With Your Mail Before it Turns Into Mountains of Clutter 
 
by May Monten June 27, 2005

If you’re a clutterbug, you may feel as if you’re drowning in paper. Even if you manage to organize the paper that you already have, there are always new pieces of paper entering your house. Most of them come in via the mail. So handling your mail in an organized way will be a big help in taming the paper storm.

Deal with your mail right away

It’s easy to get into the habit of dumping your mail on the table, or on a chair, or on some other handy vertical surface, and think that you will get to it later. If you do this for a few days, before you know it, the accumulated mail will have grown into a paper mountain. So make a commitment to dealing with your mail as soon as you bring it inside. It will only take a minute or two and will save you a lot of time and frustration down the road.

Trash begone

Keep a bag or a recycling bin near where you like to sort your mail. Pull out all the junk mail that you know for sure you don’t want and fling it into the bin.

Bills

Set up a specific place to keep your bills. It can be a desk drawer, an accordion file, a basket, or whatever else works for you. The important thing is that you use that place for bills and for nothing else. That way your bill spot won’t get cluttered, and your bills won’t get lost. When you go through your mail, pull out all the bills. Open them up, take a look at when they are due, write the dates on the outside of the envelopes, and then immediately put your bills in their designated place.

Magazines, newspapers, and other reading material

Put all of these in one place -- a magazine rack or a specific place on a shelf or table.

Everything else

After you’ve removed the categories of mail described above, you should be done with most of your mail. What’s left are things to file, and things that require quick action, and things that you’re not sure about. Each of these should go into its own place. And that’s it -- you’re now done with sorting your mail.

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