One Simple Rule Will Keep Incoming Mail from Taking Over Your Home

published Aug 1, 2016
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Imagine for a second that you’re a superhero—Professor Neat Freak. Your archenemy? The Clutter Coalition and its most powerful agent, Mail. But fear not! You have a secret weapon in your arsenal to defeat your tidy home’s biggest nemesis. One rule…

“Don’t put it down”

It’s that simple. Incoming mail takes over your home by spreading across tables and countertops when you’re not yet ready to deal with it. But the thing is, you never deal with it. At least not until after it has cramped your style and become a major problem.

The solution? Don’t sit yourself or your mail down until it’s been dealt with.

Step 1: Dump the Junk

After you visit the mailbox, bring the mail inside and immediately sort through it, standing over the trash can and recycling bin to make sure junk immediately finds its home. Take anything that needs to be shredded and set it into a bag or basket set aside for exactly that reason.

Step 2: Open Everything

With your new, more slim pile of mail in hand—you know, the only things you actually care about—remain standing in the entryway or kitchen and open every parcel. Recycle the envelopes and any unimportant enclosures right away, until all you’re left with is the lean meat of your mail pile.

Step 3: Sort and Store

Now that you’ve whittled your hulking pile down to, hopefully, just a small stack of paper, take 5 minutes to get everything sorted and put away immediately. Put statements in the file cabinet, tack due bills onto the bulletin board, and hang greeting cards up where you can enjoy them for a little while.

Voila! Happy (paper-free) home!