Managing mail is one of the primary paper management tasks for which people consult a professional organizer in NYC. An often-cited inscription on the James A. Farley Post Office Building in NYC reads, Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Which means mail is going to arrive in your mailbox six days a week, like it or not. Without a system for managing mail, it can quickly clutter your desk and countertops and become overwhelming. Here are some NYC professional organizer tips for managing your mail that can help you stay on top of it:
Establish a Place
Settle on a place in your home to put incoming mail – a basket, hanging file bin or drawer near your door – where you will always place mail before sorting it. Be sure that your “mail place” has sufficient room to sort and quickly shuffle through items.
Having the tools you need nearby will make the process of opening and reviewing your mail more efficient. A letter opener, waste can, recycling bin and shredder will all be called into service on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to open mail near your master calendar so that you can immediately add events and meetings as you open invitations and notices.
Lastly, this NYC professional organizer encourages clients who don’t already do so to discard unwanted mail before entering their home.
Establish a Routine
Set a regular time for managing your mail every day. This can be as soon as you walk in the door, after dinner, or another block of time that works for you and your schedule. It’s vital to go through your mail every day as it will only take a few minutes and will keep it from piling up and becoming an overwhelming chore.
Establish a System
Toss or recycle items you don’t need such as flyers, circulars, catalogs and other junk mail. Any items with personal information or pre-filled applications should be shredded. If you don’t have a shredder, invest in a small one for home use – it’s far cheaper and easier than dealing with identity theft.
Designate a specific area for processing the mail that requires some action or needs to kept. Ideally, this should be at your desk. Create files for bills, events and other mail so that you can file it right away rather than leaving it to do later. If several people in your home receive mail, establish a place for each person’s mail so that they know where to find it and can review it every day. This can be a container with a section for each person, a desk in their room or other spot that makes it easy for them to find and process their mail.
- Catalogs can pile up quickly, especially around the holidays. To reduce the number of catalogs in your mailbox, sign up with Catalog Choice. This one-stop service cancels catalogs you don’t wish to receive, lightening your mail load and helping the environment.
- Invitations and event announcements should be noted on your calendar right away, and if you need to keep the invitation for event details, file it in an “Upcoming Events” folder or clip it to the specific week or month page of your calendar.
- Bills are typically time sensitive and late payments can be costly – in terms of both late fees and damage to your credit score. Create a home for unpaid bills and file them immediately. This can be an accordion file divided by date, a hanging file or an in-box. Use the system that works best for you to find and pay bills on time. Once bills are paid, file statements away.
- Magazines, trade journals and newspapers are a great source of information and entertainment, but only if you actually take the time to read them. Consider canceling those you no longer need or enjoy. Check into to the availability of an online subscription, where you can catch up on reading during breaks in your day. Place print copies you want to keep in places where you’re most likely to actually read them – in your car (perfect to pass the time in carpool line), in your briefcase (catch up while you wait for an appointment), on your night stand, etc. Old magazines should be recycled or donated to local hospitals, nursing homes, or charitable organizations.
With a little pre-planning and commitment to a routine, managing mail can be short daily task rather than a dreaded project