Mail Organization Hall of Fame: How Readers Deal With Their Daily Mail

This week's challenge was all about mail organization, and making sure that you both kept track of your incoming mail and also your outgoing mail.


create a home mail organizer center challenge
To do this the mission for Week #10 of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge was to create a home mail organizer center to keep track of the daily influx of mail and other papers every home receives.

Many participants took this challenge and shared what they'd accomplished with me, and I've shared what they've done below.

If what you see inspires you, I'd love it if you'd take the challenge too.

Once you've tackled this week's task take pictures of the organizer or center you've created or set up, and share them with me in the Home Organization Hall of Fame. I'd love to add your accomplishments to this page too!

So, without further ado, scroll down to see the ideas shared by other participants in the challenge.

Photo by kla4067

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Daily Routine For Organizing Incoming Mail

The most part of mail organization is developing a daily routine for sorting your mail.

This does not need to be complicated. In fact, it should be simple and only take a couple of minutes each day or there is no way you will actually stick to it.

Here are a couple of suggestions from readers of how they deal with their mail daily to give you ideas for what you can do:

Lorie's Daily Routine:

My husband brings it in when he comes home from work.

I quickly go through it, and if it's a magazine it goes to the appropriate person, bill goes into the organizer on kitchen counter (it has 4 slots - one for medical, one for home bills, one for medical referrals, one for important info), save the weekly fliers for the 2 stores I shop, and everything else goes into the recycling bin.

It takes 2 - 3 minutes.

Angelina's Daily Routine:

I go through the mail as I pull it out of the mail box.

Junk? It goes into the recycle bin outside.

Bill? It goes on the counter in the kitchen. Once bill is paid, they go into appropriate folder.

Magazine? If it's the ones we have a free subscription to they go on the table. Otherwise, they go into the recycling.

The Key Is Dealing With It Daily And Keeping It In A Designated Location

As you can see from these example routines it is important to quickly sort, toss (or recycle), and then place items in their correct location.

Part of this week's challenge is to create the designated area for where to put the mail you need to actually deal with later. The submissions below show ideas for how to containerize that mail.

But remember, as a reader, Christine says, keep it simple. She said: "Mail is either 1. Trash; 2. Action now; or 3. Action Later. So you only need a folder, pouch or tray for the Action Later. Keep it simple."

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Five Drawer Organizer For Incoming Mail

by Bec S
(Adelaide, Australia)

After

After

After 1 basket - better than nothing but still too jumbled

Bec from 2012 - The Year Of Challenges worked on this week's challenge and came up with a solution which she described as a "300% improvement on dumping the papers on the bench, and much better than the 1 basket system."

Previously Bec had been like many of us, and when she came in the door she just dumped the mail onto the kitchen table or counter and it got out of control.

Therefore, the first thing she tried was a single basket on top of the microwave (see the third picture) where she would place the papers, making a designated area for them.

That was better than just indiscriminately tossing them places, but it still became a jumbled mess.

So when this week's challenge came along she decided to get a five drawer sorter and use that to further sort the papers as soon as they came in the door.

She explained: "I have labeled the drawers so we know what's to go where. The top drawer has pens, pencils, scissors, sticky tape etc. The next one is Nigel's mail. The 3rd one is my mail. The 4th one is junk mail and the last one is miscellaneous/papers to be actioned."

She and her husband got on board, together, with the new system, and whoever comes in with the mail is supposed to immediately sort it into the correct drawer.

What she didn't mention, but obviously is a major part of any mail organization system, is then a designated routine time to go through all these papers and deal with them -- pay the bills, file, toss, or take other action on them.

This is a great start though Bec! Awesome job.

Here are some similar organizer items you could use if you like Bec's method:

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Home Mail & Important Numbers Center

by Stephanie
(Bloomington, IN)

Home Mail Center

Home Mail Center

I was really excited to check out the mail center ideas because I'd tried one a few years ago and it didn't succeed very well. So I clicked the link and the mail center was just like the one I'd tried before, but with different file organization. So I got mine back out, did some relabeling and we're in business!

Also, there's a phone board below the upper cabinets. I had scraps of paper with important phone numbers lying everywhere that I was afraid I'd lose (they were the only copy in some cases).

I kept wishing I could hang a corkboard, but the area was too small and awkward for one. So I found some 6x6 cork squares at the local craft store and hung them with the double-sided foam tape that came with them. I cut one in half to create a few 6x3 tiles and an awkward space is now a great storage area.

I also relocated our battery charger to this area. While not normally a kitchen item, this area is away from food prep and I had a small lower drawer there that was not being used. Now I store extra batteries there so they're all together and off the countertops.

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Mail Basket To Collect Letters & Other Papers

by Ali

Ali says: "Found this basket a few months back - works great for holding my project folders."

Here are some similar types of items to what Ali showed above. Please note that the basket shown is wall-mounted though, so not exactly like what is shown above.



Photo courtesy of ali edwards

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Our System For Organizing Mail In A Large Family

by Judy J.

Judy says:

Organizing mail coming into the house has always been a challenge. However, in a large family it is overwhelming, especially when the children start getting their own mail.

Our system is kept in our foyer where everyone comes and goes.

We use a large basket/organizer with plastic file folder labeled with each person's name, family bills, and a large folder for receipts.

Everyone has been instructed on getting and dispersing the mail in the family mailbox.

Everyone has gotten used to looking for their mail in their "mailbox" (folder).

There is also room for monthly magazines, etc.

This has revolutionized our family mail. I go through the bills and my mail usually 1-2 weeks.

I have nearly all our bills on automatic payment which has helped with no more late fees!

I would be happy to post pictures of our system.

Taylor says:

Thanks for this explanation of your system Judy. It sounds great.

Yes, absolutely, I'd love for you to submit a photo! You can click here to share photos. Just follow the instructions in the form!

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Organized Mail Center For Letters & Supplies

by Megan

After

After

After Before After

Megan at Life of the Lorenzens shared her organized mail center.

She explained that there were a couple areas on her kitchen counter that seemed to accumulate clutter quickly, and one of those was her mail area.

She said: "This spot tends to collect papers, projects and items that need to go downstairs or be put away. Mail that doesn't require my immediate attention gets put in the mail holder and builds up. It gets cleared off regularly, but I thought it could use a little sprucing up."

So what she did was add some cute card stock to the picture slots on her office supplies holder, which has a mail slot in the back, just to have everything labeled and nicer looking.

Has This Inspired You To Get Organized Now?

organized home challenge
As you can see from the submissions above, there are lots of ways to organize your mail within your home.

But whatever method you choose I hope you've been inspired to put it all in a designated place and sort through it regularly.

Once you've taken on this week's challenge I'd love for you to share the pictures of your home mail organizer center, and I'll add them to the page. You can share your pictures and ideas here.

Further, I'd love it if you joined the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, where every week we take on a different task that, over the course of the year, will help us organize our entire home from top to bottom.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Rid Of Paper Clutter Hall Of Fame

Go From Mail Organization Hall of Fame To Home Page

Comments for Organized Mail Center For Letters & Supplies

Click here to add your own comments

deal with it weekly
by: Janet

Sounds bad, but I pile all the mail in one corner and take care of it every Thursday morning. That's the only day I have to get up at 4 am. 99% of it is magazines or junk. I also write out my bills, cut coupons, plan my weekly food, bonus is I am ahead on credit cards and my student loan.

my routine
by: Carrie

Most of my bills are paperless. The rest of the mail gets sorted (trash thrown away before it enters my home). What does come in gets filed right away. The sale ads come in and the old ones go outside by the grill.

what should I shred?
by: Anonymous

What does everyone do with their name and address info on inside contents of mail and address label? I remove anything with my name and shred.

reply re question about what to shred
by: Taylor

Here's my article on what you need to shred versus what you can just trash (or recycle) when dealing with mail or really any papers. Hope this helps!

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