“I have the most trouble with paperwork… I get the mail everyday, and feel stressed!”
This isn’t really a question but I know what she means. I think we all feel a little overwhelmed when we pick up the mail and there are tons of bills, junk, cards, ads, etc. It can easily become overwhelming and sometimes even a burden. Here are some tips for how to organize the mail and avoid getting stressed out by it!
1. Open mail as soon as it is brought in. If I can’t open it right at that moment then leave it in one pile on the counter so that you can open it as soon as you have time.
2. Have a plan. It’s very important to have a plan for each type of mail, let me explain. In our household there are usually 3 types of mail:
*Bills (unfortunately the most common)
*Fun mail (cards, invitations, etc.)
Each of these types of mail has a specific place that it is put after being opened.
When bills are opened we immediately toss the extra papers in the envelope (newsletters, etc.), the envelope is tossed if it is one we pay using Bill Pay–or saved if it is one that we pay by mail. Once all of the bills have been opened and all of the extra “stuff” has been tossed we immediately take the stack of bills and put it in our budget box. The budget box is where we keep our budgets, checkbooks, Bill Pay info and all of our bills so that when we pay bills and do the budget on the 1st and 15th everything is in one tidy, easy to access location.
Junk mail is looked at briefly and then tossed in the recycle bin or shred pile (if it has important info on it). The good news is that we don’t receive very much junk mail these days. We took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class a few years ago and learned about a great website that helps to eliminate junk mail. Here is the link if you’d like to cut back on your junk mail.
Opting out through the website or calling the number (1-888-5-OPTOUT) will remove you from their pre-screening list at the main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Innovis, TransUnion). You will need to provide your Social Security Number and other personal information, but don’t worry, this site is legitimate. OptOutPrescreen.com is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission. (source)
Junk mail is actually my favorite mail because it comes in the house and then it’s gone in only a few minutes, I don’t even have to think about what I’m going to do with it.
This is actually the hardest one for me. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE getting fun mail but the question is always “keep or not to keep”. Separate cards from invitations. Invitations are always put on the calendar and then immediately tossed out. I know that may seem harsh but once the event is saved on the calendar there really isn’t a reason to keep the invitation any longer. If you keep it it’s just making your life more cluttered. If there is a picture in the invitation I usually put it on the fridge for a week or two and then toss it or put it in Malea’s keepsake box (if it’s someone special).
Cards from friends are always my favorite. However they are the toughest because after reading it the question is always “now what do I do with it?”. Here’s my rule: Thank you cards are read, appreciated and then tossed. I can’t feel bad about it because if I kept every thank you note I’d have piles and piles that would constantly stress me out. So right now I am giving you permission to toss those and not feel guilty about it!!!
Cards from friends are read, some are kept in a special box I have for cards, but some are tossed. It kind of depends on my mood that day, how funny/special the card is, etc. Cards that are sent to encourage or speak life to Matt, Malea or I are always kept for a day when we are feeling down on ourselves. I love the cards that Malea receives from the childcare workers and babysitters in her life that speak life and great things over her. Those cards always go in her keepsake box.
So that’s how I maintain my mail madness. It’s a good system that has cut down on our clutter and the stress of bringing in the mail. I hope that this helps you to rein in your stress and “show it who’s boss”!!!
If you have a system for your mail I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to leave a comment and share it with us.