Staying on Top of the Daily Snail Mail

Staying on top of snail mail and the clutter it creates is at the top of the list for many as a tedious and loathed task.  But making time to address what arrives in your mailbox each day can mean the difference between a daunting pile of junk or a neat and organized must-deal-with pile.  Follow these steps daily to help keep both mail and clutter under control.

Make Checking Your Mailbox a Daily Mission

Whether the mail piles up in the box or on your counter, it will still be there for you to deal with.  Take a few minutes each day and establish a routine to deal with anything that arrives in your mailbox. Once you bring mail into your home, it should only take a few seconds to sort and organize. I use these three categories when sorting through my mail: recycle, requires action or read.

Recycle

On any given day, your mailbox is probably filled with junk you don’t need to keep.  Grocery ads, credit card offers, solicitations, and catalogs accumulate quickly.  Stop the influx of junk mail into your home by recycling any unwanted mail immediately.  Check out these resources for help in halting junk mail completely:  catalogchoice.org, directmail.com, or ecocycle.org.

Requires Action

Place bills that need to be paid, invitations that require RSVPs or anything else that needs action from you in a designated spot.  Bills can be dealt with once a month, while invitations and similar items should be addressed as soon as you can consult your calendar.

Read

We subscribe to magazines to read about hobbies, current events or any information that makes us happy.  But when those magazines start piling up and creating clutter, it may be time to rethink the number of subscriptions coming into your home.  I suggest paring down to three subscriptions and making sure you truly enjoy what’s being delivered to your house each month or week.  Once you are finished reading a magazine, it’s time to recycle it or pass the copy on to someone else who might enjoy reading it.

Establishing these habits to deal with mail and the clutter that it can quickly create will go a long way in saving both precious time and energy.  And you may just have a bit more time to read those precious magazines.

 

The Art of Discarding

This is my craft room before I did even more decluttering. I should have taken a photo of the insides of the storage bins. Alas, this is my “cluttered” craft area. I’m hoping to get paint on the walls and spruce it up more at some point. I’ll be very excited to share that “after” photo!

I read this book a few weeks ago and liked it a lot. It was the book that inspired Marie Kondo to write The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

For me, hearing over and over that decluttering is really the most important aspect to being well-organized has helped me immensely. My decision-making is so much better because of the advice from this book. Inspired to declutter even more, I spent at least 12 hours on my scrapbook room last weekend. Most people who see my home think that there’s nothing else I could possibly get rid of but that’s not true.

We all have clutter, even me, and it piles up when you aren’t thinking about it. This book made me think about it and recycle, donate and throw away things I truly didn’t need and would never use. I know this because I hadn’t used them in years and when stickers have lost their “sticky”, it’s time to get rid of them. (Not all – I can use Glue Dots on the un-sticky ones that I love.) I had ugly scrapbook paper, embellishments that were tacky or too bumpy to fit inside the sleeve of a clear scrapbook refill page, etc.

So now for some practical advice……this book’s Table of Contents alone will tell you what you need to know. In Part One, here are the 10 attitudes to help you get rid of things:

  1. Don’t keep it “for now”
  2. Avoid “temporary” storage – decide now!
  3. “Sometime” never comes
  4. “Really convenient!” to somebody else – irritating junk to me
  5. Nothing is sacred
  6. If you’ve got it, use it
  7. Storage and organization methods are not the solution
  8. “Maybe this could go…”
  9. Don’t worry that you’ll get rid of something you shouldn’t
  10. Don’t aim for perfection

Then, Part Two give you 10 strategies for discarding. Here they are:

  1. Don’t look – throw!
  2. Chuck it there and then
  3. Discard when you exceed a certain amount
  4. Discard after a certain period of time
  5. Regular discarding
  6. Discard things even if they can still be used
  7. Establish discarding criteria
  8. Have plenty of disposal routes
  9. Start small
  10. Who disposes of what? Decide responsibilities

There is a Part Three that talks about alternatives to throwing things away for people who have a hard time throwing things in the garbage.

One of the things that I found very interesting was when she talked about getting rid of things that can still be used. This might confound you but, yes, you can and sometimes should get rid of certain things that might have some use or purpose. The examples the author uses is clothes, books and magazines. She says, “The belief that things should be used until their potential is exhausted is a powerful one. People seem to think that if they keep something, there’ll be the opportunity at some point for this potential to be used.” “But it’s better not to bother about whether you use things to their full potential. It may well be the case that they could be used more, but they can still be disposed of. Accept this and you’ll save yourself a lot of worry.”

I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. Again, the book’s Table of Contents says it all.

Thanks for reading!!