3 Steps to Manage your Mail

When I was a kid, I loved getting mail.

Our house sat atop a long, winding driveway at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The closest neighbor was about a half-mile down the road.  Our small town was five miles away. In the 1970’s, five miles was a trip, so “going to town” was a big deal.

Mail made me feel connected to a bigger world.

When the mail arrived, I’d race down the driveway to check the mailbox.   Bursting at the seams at the possibilities, I’d open the door to the mailbox.  Would it be a card? A letter?  Post cards were my favorite.  They held the allure of far off places, places that felt inaccessible to me at the time.

As an adult, the anticipation of opening the mailbox has diminished. Bills, professional journals, and junk mail are the order of the day.  Checking the mail is no longer an adventure. Getting rid of mail – now that thrills me!

Paper adds to the mental and visual clutter of our home. We work hard to limit the amount of mail that comes through the door.

These are the three strategies we use to manage our mail.  Maybe they will work for you, too.

  1. Electronic billing:  Go paperless.  It’s a proactive attack on the amount of paper in your mailbox.
  2. Get off mailing lists:  We became a magnet for mail-order catalogs after we got married and had kids. Use the phone number on the magazine to call the company and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Most companies are happy to save on postage and would prefer you view their products online.
  3. Toss it before it comes in the house: This is where Jim and the boys think I’m nuts, but it works, really!  Our recycling can is near the backdoor of the house. Before I even take my coat off, I sort the mail and toss the unwanted junk in the bin.  What comes in the house I open, toss or shred what I can, and file the rest in the “to do” basket.  The whole process takes about two minutes and saves me the stress of seeing a pile of unopened mail on the table.

Using these steps on a daily basis eliminates the task of sorting a pile of clutter at the end of the week. For us, that’s a liberating experience.


What strategies do you have for effectively dealing with mail?






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