Create A Working Mail Center

I talk about the mail a lot in my newsletter, Organewz, and to my clients. I write about it again because I have seen so many people still without one place for their mail. The worst part is the anxiety that goes along with not knowing where a bill or water shut off notice is! It is just too nervewracking!

Here is how to create a complete mail center. Include the following (altogether in one spot):

1. large table for sorting

2. Trashcan

3. Folder or wall pocket labeled "bills". Inside this folder or wall hanging pocket, I like to have two folders for bills due at the beginning of the month 1-15 and bills due towards the end of the month 15-30. Many companies will allow you to schedule your bill due dates. That makes it easy to consolidate them either in the beginning or end of the month.

4. A "Pending" folder or a tickler file. Designate one place for those little scraps of paper, such as wedding invitations, appointments to schedule, and information to enter into the computer.

A tickler file includes slots for each day of the month 1-31, and each month of the year, Jan-Dec. That way, you can place each scrap of paper on a specific day of the year. That gives a definitive time and date for taking action on the "pending" items. (check out the product link below)

If you choose to have a general pending file, look through the file every so often (depending on how pressing the tasks are) and take action.

The thing that is wonderful about a tickler file, is that both "hot" and "warm" tasks can go into it, and if you review your next day's tasks, you will not forget to complete the tasks.

With a general "pending" or "now" folder, it is easier to forget to look through the file and take action.

You can also paperclip these scraps into your calendar, just be wary of the papers falling out or creating too much bulk.

5. To File- for mail coming in that doesn't require any action, just put it in the "to file" basket or hanging wall pocket. When it gets full, take the time to file the papers away. Another use for this category is to put the stubs after you've paid your bills in the "to file" pile. Or you can file them straightaway after bill paying. It depends on your energy levels!

You do need to have a file system intact. (stay tuned for the next issue of Organewz). If you do not currently have a file system, start separating your papers using manila folders. Label the folder using a title you would think to look back on. So if you just got your lawn cut, for example, don't label the folder by the lawn company. Not many people even know the name of their lawn company! Just label the folder, "lawn" or "home maintenance".

6. Medical reimbursements- I include this category as an optional one, depending on your insurance company. Some people have the arduous task of having to submit receipts to their medical insurance company. Believe me, this can involve a lot of paper. If this speaks to you, keep another wall hanging pocket for medical reimbursements in your mail center.

7. Outgoing Mailbox-one really wonderful item to include in your mail center is an outgoing mail box. All this means is for you to pickup an attractive box and put scissors, envelopes, scotch tape, stamps, return address labels, and pens inside of it. Having an outgoing mailbox makes paying bills easier because everything you need is onhand in one location!

Review- After the mailperson comes, pick up the mail onto your mailsorting table. Throw out the junk mail immediately. Open the rest of the mail. Put the items not requiring any action in the "to file" pocket. Put the bills in the "bills" pocket. The medical receipts in the "medical receipts" pocket. Any other piece of paper requiring action goes into your tickler file or paperclipped in your calendar to complete on a certain date.

It is my hope that by creating a mail center, you can continue to wage your war on clutter and gain the balanced life that you so deserve.

Rebekah Slatkin is a professional organizer dedicated to getting people organized through hands-on decluttering sessions, teleconferencing, coaching, and her website

Visit and subscribe to Organewz, her ezine dedicated to organized living and get organizing tips- free.

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