The amount of mail today should be less and less. We have so many online options that give us the power to stop the mail from arriving, cluttering up our tabletop and wasting our time opening it up. To start, go paperless as much as you can, and to figure out which places you need to switch over, start with your current pile of mail. In the current piles, you will find lots of places you should log into and choose e-delivery. You will have to create usernames and passwords on each website but in the end, it will be worth it.
If you are sticking with the paper mail and want it, here is a method on how to organize your mail system approach.
- Open all the mail daily. Physically slit open the mail. Don’t assume you know what’s inside an envelope. Don’t keep the envelope and advertisements inside.
- Read through things thoroughly. Sometimes we keep paper by default because we don’t take the thirty seconds to read the letter from top to bottom. Those papers can often be pitched.
- Pitch or shred everything that isn’t a bill, tax record, or permanent record. Don’t put off shredding. It’s so much easier to shred two to three things daily than a hundred things at the end of the month.
- Place bills in a “bill spot” and place paper that needs to be filed in a “file spot”. Those spots could be baskets, file folders, trays, etc…any containers to organize the paper. Later you’ll pay the bills and later, you’ll file the paper.
- Pick a day of the week or month you will sit down and pay bills.
- Designate a day of the week or month you will sit down and file the paper. I would encourage you to read my record retention blog to decide what you should be keeping.
- Any task you need to do or any item you need to decide on later needs a home. Repeat the process by picking a tray, file, bin, or container to hold these action items and label the container. That’s the most important part.
- Pick a day of the week or month you will sit down and process the task bin.