Tips for Tuesday
Welcome to part two of “Win the War on Junk Mail!” Last week I gave you some tips on how to reduce the amount of mail coming in. While we’re waiting for the influx of mail to wane, we still need to take steps to deal with the incoming.
1. Go through the mail every day. It’s much more manageable to work with one day’s mail than plow through a pile, so set aside a few minutes each day to deal with it.
2. Try to handle each piece of mail only once, or as little as possible. The quicker you deal with it, the quicker it’s out of your life (and off your counter!)
- Start by opening everything. I like to use a letter opener because I feel it speeds up the process, not to mention that it saves wear and tear on my fingers. (Some people like to pitch junk mail without opening it, but if you do so you risk getting rid of something important – like a check - that just looks like junk mail.)
- As I open the mail I sort it into three piles - bills that need to be paid, other things that need to be dealt with in one way or another, and paper to be recycled.
Recycling: I don’t want my information to get into the wrong hands, so I remove my address, account numbers, etc. before recycling. I recently found a very nifty gadget to help speed up the process! Rather than using a shredder or tearing off the private info and burning it (for those of us who live in the middle of nowhere) I bought a “Guard your ID STAMP.” I purchased mine from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for around $10 (minus a 20% coupon, of course!) If you go to purchase one, you may need to ask for it. I found mine on a bottom shelf up by the cash registers.
As you can see, this self-inking stamp is solid symbols and obliterates whatever is underneath it. Now I just quickly stamp out any personal information and it’s ready for the recycle bin!
Bills: If you have several come at once, you may want to pay them and get it over with. If you don’t want to mail them in right away, pencil in the date it needs to be mailed (allowing a few days in transit) where the stamp goes. When it comes time to mail it, just cover up the date with a postage stamp.
If your bills are staggered, it may be more expedient to aside a specific place for these and schedule a time to take care of them.
Other things: If at all possible, do what you need to do as soon as you’re done sorting the mail. It really doesn’t take long to clip a coupon or put a date on your calendar, and once you take care of it, you no longer have it cluttering up your house.
3. Give the appearance with order. Rather than leaving it piled up, put the things you don’t have time for into a nice-looking basket or some similar container. Just make sure you put the earliest dates on the top of the pile, and don’t wait too long to get back to it.
So far, my counter is still looking good! How about yours?