How to organize mail clutter

Incoming mail is a hot topic in my house right now.  We don’t know what to do with it let alone know how to organize mail clutter. Too often it ends up on the kitchen counter only to get wet from washing dishes or splatter from cooking.  Then the paper dries to the counter top leaving a mess.

The other common drop spot for mail in our house is the kitchen table.  It feels like my husband puts the mail there so I can enjoy going through it while we eat dinner.  No thanks!

WHAT I DID

First, I cleaned off my desk.  And moved around my furniture.  You can see the original layout here.  I admit, I got a little behind on a few projects and had abandoned the entire mess on my desk. (Don’t do what I do.)  Now the space is nice and clean!

The second thing I did was to purchase a tray to be used as my in-box.  It seems simple now that I think about it.  There is one centralized location for all things mail.  The tray I bought is from Target for about $11.  You can get one here.

The third thing I did was to let my husband know that the tray was meant to be an inbox for mail.  I asked him very nicely to please put all the mail he would like me to review into the tray as opposed to the kitchen table or the kitchen counter.

HOW IS IT GOING?

I bought the tray a few weeks ago and put it to the test.  This is what is happening:

  • All mail is making its way into my office.  It is sat on my desk, in the tray, every day.  Mail is no longer getting soggy on the kitchen counter.  Mail is no longer cluttering the kitchen table.  What helps is that we are consistent.  As soon as I walk in the door with a new pile of mail, I take my shoes off at the door (another clutter problem all together!), put my keys in the tray at the front door, and head directly to my office.
  • I pull out the handful of paper bills we receive every month to schedule online payments.  I like to do this right away as some places have a 10 day turn around requirement and others have longer lead times.  I get them scheduled through the bill pay app with the bank and never have to think about them again.  No stress!
  • I dig out the magazines.  I look at the pictures, get disappointed that I have already seem most of them on Instagram, and question why I continue to get magazines.  I then put them in a pile to read later.  I don’t start to read them until I get around to cleaning my office again a few months later.  I flip through the pages as a way to procrastinate from cleaning.  I then put them in a new pile to definitely read later.  The cycle continues until my house is full of perfectly stacked magazines.
  • I put fliers and other obvious junk mail in a pile to throw away.  I get distracted, forget what that pile is for, and spend more time going through the pile at a later time.  After going through the same pile two or three times, only then do I actually recycle the paper.
  • Coupons tend to stay in the tray.  I pull them out before running errands on Saturday.  Clip the coupons that I would actually use and recycle the rest.  I put the coupons in my purse and forget to use them.

Mail clutter is likely to always be, just like laundry and dirty dishes.  However, it is now nicely stacked in a pretty tray with a pile of magazines on top!