The Menacing Mailbox Monster

It seems no matter who I talk to, when when the topic of clutter comes up (and it frequently does with me!), people most often tell me that the clutter they most frequently struggle with is PAPER CLUTTER!

I have written about this before, but since it comes up so often,  I think it bears repeating....


So here is a typical question that is frequently asked of me:


"How do I best organize my catalogs, magazines, coupons, and other items that come in the mail??"


My short answer is: you don't--you just get rid of them.


Did I just hear you gasp??

Before you start calling me names and dash away to hide your circulars, please hear me out. I love flipping through the pretty booklets and finding out about a sensational sale as much as anyone, but I like having peace and balance in my house better.


If there are piles of papers keeping folks from sitting at your kitchen table, or your nightstand has a tall tower that may fall over on you in the night, then read on for a few ideas that make mail management manageable, and put the whole thing in perspective:

  • Just Three Minutes a Day! Mail delivery happens six times a week, and dealing with it daily tames the paper tiger. Have a place in your house set up for sorting, with your paper recycling bin, shredder, letter opener, and bill file within arms length.  Don't want to do it? I don't blame you....but set a timer and muscle through three minutes. That's all it will take to keep it at bay.
  • Use the OHIO method. ONLY HANDLE IT ONCE. As you look at each piece of mail, make a decision on it (piles of clutter are really piles of delayed decisions, you know) and put it right where it goes--recycling, shredder, bill file, etc. Take your magazines right to where they eventually will be read.
  • Keep things in balance. While you are there putting the magazine in the basket by the couch, pull out the last issue and take it back with you to the recycling bin. If you haven't read it yet, it is okay to get rid of it. Really.
  • The perfect place to store your guessed it, the recycling bin! After you have flipped through it once, put it in the bin. If you want to come back to it, you'll  know where it is for the next week or so. And if you want to order something, it is easiest to do so online anyway.