Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paring Down Your Mailbox

Tips for Tuesday

We all want less clutter in our lives. Maybe it's mental clutter from all we have to keep track of. Maybe it's clutter from our children growing up and growing out of their clothes and toys. And maybe it's all those papers and catalogs that find their way to our mailboxes.

What would you say if I told you there are ways to keep your mailbox from getting cluttered? And thus keeping your kitchen counter from getting just as cluttered? I don't know about you, but I'm all for having less to sort through and make decisions on on a daily basis. I have enough to do without determining whether or not I should open and envelope or keep a letter.

So here are some things I've done that have helped curb the clutter in my mailbox.

• Go paperless. Many companies offer e-statements and payment options online now. Rather than getting a piece of paper in the mail, you get an email, reminding you to pay your bill. You can sign in to your account, then set up automatic withdrawal from your checking account, or pay it manually every month. No paper ever comes in or goes out. Most offer this service for free since it costs them less to process the bill and payment.
• Opt out of mailing lists. Watch when you sign up for new offers or visit a new web site. There is often a little box at the end, in small print, that asks you to check if you DON'T want to receive offers from complimentary companies. Many people miss seeing the box, so they are automatically added to the mailing lists of yet more companies.
• Opt out of catalog lists. Once you start receiving mail order catalogs, your name is shared with marketing lists. And once you order from one, the list gets longer. You can opt out of mailing lists through web sites like DMAChoice.org. Just add your name/address to the list, and you will be taken off junk mail lists.

And to curb your mail once it gets in the house, always open it over the recycle bin, and immediately file what you need to keep. Handle each piece of mail only once when it arrives. The next time you touch it should be when you have to act on it.

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