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.
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."
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:
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.
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?
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.
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