DIY Network

Tips for Organizing Mail

Learn how to keep junk mail, bills and clutter chaos under control.

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keep junk mail, bills and clutter under control

The first step in organizing mail is to separate bills, cards, magazines and catalogs, and then pile up all the junk mail. Remember, while it can be very nice to page through catalogs, most of them exist in full online.

One of the most important things when going through a backlogged pile is to have a recycling bin or trash basket handy. Immediately throw all advertisements, catalogs and fliers away. There's an address or phone number on just about all junk mail -- call or write and tell them to take you off the mailing list immediately.

In these days of concern over identity theft, cut up anything that has personal information. A simple way to do this is just to cut them up with scissors. To be extra safe, throw the bits out in different loads of trash, or opt for a paper shredder. They are inexpensive now, and a good quality paper shredder can cost as little as $20. There are straight cut shredders that cut the papers into strips. They're good, but for extra peace of mind, consider a cross cut shredder that cuts down and across, which makes the shreds nearly impossible to reassemble.

Consider buying a mail organizer. They come in a huge variety of styles and it's easy to find one that will look great on the front hall table or in the kitchen or home office. Every day when the mail comes in, sort it into the organizer. If there are just one or two people in the household, label each section by type: bills, banking, letters and magazines. Stay diligent, though; an organizer can become cluttered too, so make time every week to go through the organizer and weed out whatever needs to go.

A mail organizer can also be a great idea to tuck in some stamps and return labels. That way, everything is at hand -- with no hassle of running around looking for supplies.

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