How To Organize Incoming Mail
Not too long ago I wrote a post called The In-Box: Methods for Corralling the Mail which outlined the various instruments one might use for capturing the mail. I did not, within said post, delve into the manner in which one might sort the mail into those holders. Recent appointments with clients have convinced me that addressing this matter is an absolute necessity.
So, then, how to (use your mail holders to) organize incoming mail:
– Refer to the afore-blogged post for guidance on products in which you might keep your sorted mail.
– When the mail comes in, immediately discard anything that can and should be recycled (this includes those spam mailers, etc). It may be helpful to keep a recycling container right by the door for this purpose.
– Sort the remaining mail into categories:
– To File (this will usually include any medical/insurance documents, financial statements, etc)
– To Do/ Actionable Items (this will include any mail that-obviously- requires you to take action of some kind. Perhaps it’s a bill that you’re unclear about, an invitation you need to RSVP to, etc)
– To Read (this can include newspapers, catalogs, magazines, or just general correspondence)
– (optional) To Shred (Any mail you feel contains sensitive information)
You may wish to get more detailed in your categories– for instance, you may wish to have a separate slot just for correspondence, you may want a section for outgoing mail, or for address labels and stamps. I leave the OCD factor of your mail sorting system up to you, but do recommend starting with the categories above as a base.
Your mail sorting should consistently be done in the same place, using whatever sorting device you’ve chosen. You’ll need to clear these categories out on a regular basis, both to avoid overflow, and because the mail in some categories contain deadlines. Choose a schedule that works best for you, depending upon how much mail you generally receive; perhaps once a week or bi-weekly go through each mail slot, paying any bills, filing any papers, and attending to whatever action steps are required.
Just call me the postman, cause I deliver errrrrday.Image credits: Martha Stewart Home Design, Bright and Blithe, Martha Stewart Home Design, BHG, BHG
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Annie Traurig was born with the ability to see order through clutter. As a child, she spent playdates organizing friends’ closets and packing their duffle bags for summer camp.
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