Easy Mail Management
One of the biggest challenges I hear from clients and on social media is how to manage mail. Even though most of what’s in our mailbox is junk, it comes everyday and deposits more on our already lengthy to-do list. If you don’t take the time to manage it, it will take over over your office, home, cost you money, and give you headaches.
While we all thought paper was going away 20 years ago, it is here to stay and has a much stronger effect on our well being that we realize. Did you know that 23% of adults pay bills late and incur late fees?
To manage your mail most effectively you need to set up a system for storing and processing it quickly and easily. Here are my tips to make it easier on you so you can go do something fun!
- First and foremost: do not bring junk mail in your home! Go through it if you can before you bring it in the door and throw away any junk. If you see “presorted” in the cancellation section, it most likely is Junk. Drop it in the recycle bin so you don’t have to process it again.
- Get a pretty basket or bin that you can use to drop the mail when it comes in your home. It should be large enough to hold magazines and large envelopes. Get something that’s at least 10” x 14” but no taller than 4”. The larger it is the more stuff will get dumped in there. That’s more stuff you have to process later.
- Open mail as soon as you can. It’s good to separate the bills and important financial statements from the personal mail. Toss any unnecessary paperwork like extra envelopes or fillers.
- Designate a location and time for paying bills. The location should be close to where you will actually pay the bill so that might be your desk where your computer and/or checkbook and stamps are. Once you pay the bill, file the statement in the appropriate folder (see #6).
- Process personal mail as soon as you can. Put social occasions and appointments on your calendar. I like to keep the invitation and personal letters for a while on a bulletin board but it’s not necessary.
- Set up a filing system for the bills and mail that you want and need to keep.* Life is much easier when you can just drop the statements or letter in a labeled, open top hanging file. The more actions you have to complete to put papers away (such as pulling out boxes, opening lids, lifting papers out, etc) the less likely it is to be completed.
Overall, it’s best to minimize the amount of unwanted mail you receive so that there is less to process. To take yourself off of credit card and insurance offer lists, go to optoutprescreen.com to register your address to opt out of receiving credit or insurance offers. For catalogs, call the company’s Customer Service department directly and ask to remove your name off their list.
While people aren’t sending as many personal letters these days (hey, let’s bring that back!) we certainly do have more papers coming in to our mailbox than our parents did. Take a few minutes to set up a system and you’ll spend less time dealing with it when you’d rather be doing something fun or productive!
*Go to Neatsmart to get your copy of my Paperwork to Keep resource which tells you how long to keep important documents like financial and insurance statements.
Photo: Amy Jowen Photo