A quick, effective, and simple mail routine to stop the piles of mail.
This daily mail routine should only take a few minutes and will eliminate the ever-growing piles of mail that land in your home’s hot spot zone every day.
A hot spot is an area in your home that seems to collect all of the “I don’t know what to do with this stuff.”
One of the main items that love to live in this zone is mail. Eventually, the mail pile can turn into an impossible mountain. If the idea of a large pile of mail stresses you out, you are not alone. I feel the same way.
When you have a pile of mail there are only two ways to deal with it:
- Ignore the mail
- Deal with the mail
Never fear! Dealing with mail can be simple and easy with this three-step mail routine.
Before beginning a mail routine:
You need to set up zones for the mail.
These zones allow you to sort and categorize what is most important with the mail. Here are the zones I recommend you have for mail:
Most mail doesn’t need to be kept. Items like: advertisements, junk mail, and coupons (unless you like to save coupons) can all either be tossed, recycled, or shredded.
Create a designated zone in your home for mail you no longer want or need. Make sure this is simple, easy to use, and near where you sort your mail.
For us, the toss zone is a box under our sink in the kitchen.
There will be a few items that need to be kept and saved. Items like birth certificated or receipts or anything that would be challenging to replace. Have a file system for those items. Use whatever filing system works for you and your brain.
I’ve used the freedom filer system for several years now. It always stays organized and is easy to maintain.
I love the fact that the only files that I switch out every year are the receipts. Once set up,, this system takes no additional brain power.
This zone is for those items that you need to deal with right away like bills, invites, appointments, etc. This is one of the most important zones that people often can become overwhelmed with.
For this zone, I encourage you to have it in a spot that makes you deal with it. For instance, maybe this is pinned up on your computer monitor or next to your planner.
I like to have this zone in an area that I go to every single day. For us, this is on top of our computer desk.
It’s in an easily accessible spot where I have our printer, stationery supplies, computer, and it’s near the front door. I can immediately postmark any mail that needs to be placed in the mailbox.
” Time-will-tell” zone:
Sometimes you will get a piece of mail that you want to keep but doesn’t fit into any other zones. For that, I like to have a spot for items where “time-will tell” if I need them again. Things like coupons to stores I frequent or a magazine that I like to read from time to time.
This is probably the least used zones. But it is still important to have so you don’t have mail everywhere. For us, this zone is near our deal-with-now zone.
Best tip for setting up mail zones?
When working on the mail zones, focus on simplicity and ease of use. Keep the zones as uncomplicated as possible.
If possible, keep the zones physically near each other. If the zones are near each other then they a more likely to be used.
Simple three-step mail routine
Once you have your mail zones arranged, you will be able to easily deal with your mail using these three steps.
1. Sort the mail.
Find a spot in your home where you go every time to sort your mail. Sort the mail into specific zones: toss, keep, deal with now, and Time-will-tell. After the mail is sorted then do step two.
I don’t normally label the mail. But I did want to show what this step looks like. This step usually takes me a few seconds to complete.
2. Put mail away immediately.
Once the piles are sorted then place the mail where it belongs. Walk the mail that needs to be tossed in the trash or recyclable bin. Place file items in their files.
3. Deal with the deal-with-now step (optional).
If you have the time, do the “deal-with-now” task. If you do this every day, then you won’t have a massive deal with now pile.
Again this is for a bill that needed to get paid or an event that needs to be written down in your calendar. That’s the trick to making this system work. Deal with items right away.
Common mail routine questions:
How to set up a mail routine, if your mail is already out of control?
Once you have set up your mail zones, I recommend you set aside 5 -15 minutes to deal with the mail right now. After the big pile is taken care of then this should only take a few minutes each day to do the mail routine.
How do I maintain this mail routine?
Just like any routine, deal with mail right away every single day. It is always easier to maintain a routine if you do a little bit every day. Once it’s on autopilot, you will no longer have piles of mail everywhere.
I am still having trouble with this mail routine, what should I do?
This might sound silly, but stop what you are doing and practice your mail routine right now. Pretend you have a pile of mail. Practice sorting through the mail. Then pretend to place the mail in the designated zones.
There is a reason why professional musicians practice songs many times before a performance. Practice makes perfect. Applying this same type of principle to mail is no different. Practice your mail routine.
How do I stay motivated to use this mail routine?
If you had a large pile of mail before implementing this system then remember the headache you had with your mail. Remember how good it feels to no longer have huge piles of mail to manage.
How do I stop the junk mail?
I feel ya on this one, my first recommendation would be to move. Well, I’m joking but I will say that since my husband and I have moved a bunch we don’t seem to get too much junk mail.
But joking aside, I recommend you contact the companies you are receiving junk mail from and request that you no longer receive that junk mail. I also recommend not signing up for free stuff and store promotions with your address. You are less likely to receive junk mail from companies if they don’t have your address.
Simple Mail Routine Conclusion:
Although mail might seem overwhelming, I hope my ideas for setting up zones (toss, keep, deal-with-now, and time-till-tell zones), and my three-step mail routine helps you out. Managing mail every day will help reduce stress and avoid piles of mail everywhere.
Thank you so much for stopping by our simple routines for a simple living community!
I feel like almost everyone struggles with this, myself included. Great tips!
Yes! The struggle is real. Hope this system helps you out.
This is a great way to organize the mail. Thank you for all the tips!
Super helpful! I am currently drowning in paper clutter so will have to implement this. Thanks!
Such a great system, I’m looking right now at the pile on our lounge windowsill!!
These are great tips I hate having mail clutter up our counter tops, thanks!