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I have a love/hate relationship with mail. When it’s under control and I’m neatly stacking opened items into my pay-file-recycle-shred piles, I feel in control and ridiculously accomplished. When it piles up though, I hate mail. I mean loathe mail. And I slink past the growing pile slowly and glare at it like a cat looks at you when it’s in a bad mood. (You know that look).
My sister told me I should do a post on organizing mail the other day after I told her how I got so behind somehow. I had been going through the pile with my two kids in the room and they were literally rolling and burrowing in the pile of creased and sharp edged paper. Totally safe for little kids, right?
So I thought I would share a few tips and also the comfort that even people who pride themselves as ‘organized’ get way behind sometimes when it comes to daily tasks. So first, I present to you my extremely boring mail organizing system:
This is the top drawer that holds basic office supplies. The basket in the bottom right corner of the photo holds my ‘mail related’ items, such as stamps and a return address label stamp.
This is the right hand side of my desk. You can see a small mail organizer, which has 2 compartments. In the back compartment, I keep mail I still have to deal with, whether it’s a bill to pay, a phone call to be made, or an invitation to one of the many black tie galas I’m invited to (no…not really, mostly just bills). The middle compartment holds blank envelopes. The front compartment holds several misc items, such as a letter opener and apparently (according to this photo) my cell phone. Weird.
I also have my shredder sitting right next to my desk. I explain my love for my shredder in this post. And the shredder is sitting on top of my file cabinet. So here is my usual process for going through mail.
-I open everything and separate them into 4 piles: File, Shred, Recycle, and Take Action
-I throw the recyclable item’ s in the recycle bin (conveniently located next to the file cabinet).
-I shred the ‘shred’ items. Or sometimes, if I’m really short on time, I’ll put them in the aptly named ‘To Shred’ folder in the file cabinet. I try not to do this too often though, because then it tends to build up.
-Then I file everything in the ‘file’ pile.
-Then I try to go through all of the action items and pay bills, make calls, etc. If there are things that have to wait, they go into the back compartment of the mail organizer.
Now this is not a perfect system and sometimes I get waaaaay behind. But it’s the best system for me and that’s what it’s all about.
However, here are a few other ideas I’ve found in blog land to inspire you to organize your mail stations.
How cute is this DIY mail station? She took a cardboard box, cut it in half and then covered with an adorable pattern. If you are short on space, using wall storage is always a great idea.
I love this mini workstation. It has everything you could need without being cluttered. The little pops of color would inspire me to keep my desk clear so I could see it!
This mail system is very similar to mine….except it’s a lot prettier to look at. Maybe someday…..
How do you efficiently go through your mail? Or is it in giant stacks all over the counter? Because we do both at our house 😉
When I was helping my mother-in-law clean out the Playroom Closet in her house, we came across the cutest little Valentine’s craft called the ‘Lovebug.’ Here is the one we found:
I actually have no idea if this was made by my husband or if it was one of his siblings, but I loved the idea. Soooo…I stole it for my own kids.
It’s so simple and we already had all of the supplies, so that made it even better! Just a Popsicle stick, construction paper, pipe cleaners and crayons. Easy!
I am constantly trying to find new ways to store and organize photos and art projects so that they don’t take over my house. I do have a scrapbook for the kids crafts, but since Evan started preschool a couple of weeks ago, I know the sheer volume of felt, crayon drawings and tissue paper animals will soon overwhelm me.
I take pictures of the kid’s crafts whether I decide to keep the actual craft or not. That way I always have a record of them. For my husband’s birthday last week, I gave him a framed collage print of my favorite of Evan’s art from 2012. Here is what it looks like:
We are going to do a new one every year for both of the kids. When the frames get to be too much, we will just put the 8″ x 10″ prints in a photo album. And of course, I will always have the files on my computer too.
I love to have some of the actual crafts, so I will keep on doing my scrapbook for my favorite pieces. However, I try to keep the paper in our house to a minimum, so I’m hopping on board the technology train to help me wrangle in some of the paper clutter. Scanning, JPEGs, and collage prints are some of my very favorite ways to preserve memories.
How do you preserve your family’s memories but also contain the paper clutter?