Five Ideas for Managing Your Snail Mail
Regardless of how digitized our lives have become, the accumulation of snail mail is still cluttering our homes. While much of the mail goes straight into trash – and those pesky credit card offers go into the shredder – the rest of it requires a simple strategy to keep things from piling up. Here are our tips for sorting the snail mail you still need to manage:
1. Set up a mail collection station.
Find an appropriate sized in-box such as a repurposed basket or storage box to collect your incoming mail. Make sure it’s not too big – just enough to hold the mail you receive in a week or two. Place it somewhere convenient where it is not in your way, but not out of sight either.
2. Schedule a regular time to sort your mail.
Designate a brief, recurring appointment to sort through your incoming mail and put it on your calendar. You can do this every day or a few times a week, as your needs dictate, as long as you’re consistent. Go through the in-box and separate out action items and things that require your return correspondence, and determine exactly when you will handle it. If it will only take a few minutes, it’s always best to take care of it now!
3. Do it the right way.
You don’t need anything fancy, but make sure you have the following tools on hand:
- Shredder – Destroy anything that has personal information (other than your name and address) to protect yourself from potential identity theft.
- Recycling Bin – Almost all your snail mail can be recycled. (Don’t forget to let the kids cull through your magazines and catalogues for their school projects and collages before you purge the recycling for the week!)
- File Box – Make sure the items that you need to hold on to are kept where they are safe and easy to find when you need them.
4. Make the switch to paperless statements and e-bills.
If you haven’t already opted out of paper statements, take the time to visit the websites for your credit accounts, utility providers and banks, and take the plunge into paperless! Most companies offer the option to print your statements when necessary, or you can download them (in PDF format) to your computer. You may even get a few dollars credited to your account as a reward for going green!
5. None for me, thanks.
To significantly reduce the amount of incoming snail mail, you can opt out of all credit card offers for a period of five years or you can choose to stop receiving them permanently. Remember that for any joint credit accounts you have with your spouse, including your mortgage, you will both need to opt out if you want to stop any further unwanted solicitations. Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT for details.
These tips will help reduce the volume of snail mail coming into your home, while making sure what you are receiving is kept neat and organized. Did we miss any useful tactics you’ve been using? Don’t forget to share your ideas in the comments below.