When my husband, CJ, is out of town, our mail clutter quickly becomes invasive! He’s always been the go-to mail handler in our house and he does a fabulous job keeping it at bay.
Honestly, my husband is WAY better at organizing than me. So recently when YOU asked for tips on organizing mail clutter I went straight to CJ to learn his system for keeping a handle on the paper clutter.
CJ’s System for avoiding mail clutter in 4 Easy Steps
After picking his brain and having several “mail management” conversations, I was AMAZED at what a genius system it is! So simple yet effective. I feel like I learned some great organizing lessons and I hope it helps YOU to keep the paper clutter at bay.
#1) Don’t let the junk mail into the house
After checking the mail, quickly finger through it and throw away any junk mail in an outside recycling bin. We keep our trash cans and recycling in the garage so CJ makes a little pitstop at the recycling bin BEFORE bringing the rest of the mail into the house. This get’s rid of 75% right off the bat. Brilliant!
#2) Immediately open everything and throw away the envelopes
If possible, open each piece of mail immediatelyand throw away the envelopes. This cuts down on the paper bulk and helps to filter through more items that can be thrown away.
#3) Place the remaining items in one of two mail trays
Ok, here’s where the system is absolutely genius in its simplicity. CJ keeps two stackable trays on his home office desk and all the remainder of the mail goes in one of these two trays.
THE TOP TRAY
The top tray is for anything that’s time sensitiveand has an action that needs to be taken. Examples include bills that need to be paid, renewals of any sort, vehicle tabs, insurance, action items for the kid’s school, invitations needing an RSVP, things to be added to the calendar, or anything he wants to take a closer look at later.
THE BOTTOM TRAY
The bottom tray is a place for indecision. It’s for anything else that you want to keep for now, but you’re not sure what to do with it. These are items that aren’t time-sensitive. Examples include catalogs, the local newspaper, opportunities you may want to consider, community event flyers, and possible summer camp stuff for the kids. It’s also the place where CJ keeps paper things that he’s still working on like vacation plans or paper lists.
#4) Go through the trays 1-2 times per week
To ensure the trays stay manageable, it’s essential that you go through them on a regular basis. CJ tries to go through the top tray twice a week but on busy weeks it may be only once. Each time you go through the trays try to get rid of as much as possible by dealing with each item and then filing, shredding, or throwing it away. CJ says he always starts with the top tray and if he has time he goes through the bottom tray as well. Sometimes if he’s super busy, the bottom tray can go a couple of weeks which is why nothing time-sensitive goes inside 🙂
That’s it! Super simple right? He said he’s tried more complicated systems over the years but this “two tray” method keeps the clutter down and is simple enough to keep consistent.
Want to Get Your Own Trays to cut down on the mail clutter?
If you want to try out your own “two tray” system here are a few options to get you started. They’re all from Amazon and fairly affordable. Click on the images for direct links. They are affiliate links which doesn’t cost you any extra but helps to support me and my business. It’s a win-win!
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Get mail handling system Tessie. Really helpful information. Our mailbox is bursting at the seams at this time of year. I will set up the system CJ uses. Thanks!
Wonderful! I’m so happy to hear it was helpful
Hi Tessie, I absolutely love CJ’s tips! Who doesn’t have trouble with an overflow of mail? Thanks for sharing and have happy holidays!
Can you teach us about managing email clutter?
That’s a great idea! Another one I’ll probably need help with from CJ since I need help as well 😂
Thank you Chris!! ❤️