I know many us are tackling the to do list at home lately, right? One of my items has been to go through paper files we haven’t touched in years. Our file cabinet was overflowing (and the piles next to it were as well!).
I finally got through all of it and everything is organized again. While working on it, I was reminded of these helpful tips that have helped to lessen the amount of paper and junk mail we bring into the house.
This is another aspect of the huge purge
I completed years ago. My biggest nemesis when it comes to clutter has always been PAPER. Can I get an amen?
It’s the thorn in my side, the pain in my neck, the fly in my ointment:
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But you know what? Over the past couple of years I’ve mostly conquered it. Almost. Enough that I don’t feel like it piles up on the counters anymore.
These are my tips on mail specifically — when it comes to papers from school, good luck to you my friend. 🙂 Ha! No, that stuff immediately goes to a spot in our mud room that I’ll show you in a minute.
This is for those of you who want to try to control the paper and lessen what you bring into the house. These tips work and I promise your paper load will lighten if you try them yourself!
Step 1: Go electronic for bills.
If you can go electronic — do it. We have gone paperless with many companies, but still have a few to go.
I’m slowly going through the utilities, investment companies, bank statements and everything else we get on a monthly basis. I used to hesitate when it came to not getting a paper statement, but I’m slowly getting with the times. I realized, how often do we really look at them?
Bank statements more so than anything else — but I think it’s far more secure to keep them virtually than on paper. (I know that can be argued but in general.)
Also, it takes mere seconds to log on to see a specific statement. I used to keep them all in the file drawer and that took a lot more time to dig through. Most companies will gladly switch you over and I find it far easier to keep up with. And LESS MAIL. That is our goal folks!
Step 2: Unsubscribe from catalogs and junk mail.
You may not have heard of these sites, but they are extremely helpful in lessening the amount of mail you’ll get. I’ll go into detail about each one below…
1. Catalog Choice: Opt out of catalogs that come in the mail.
I looove a good catalog. They are my jam. But sometimes we grow out of them, just don’t care to get them anymore, or get on a list we don’t want to be on.
If this is the case for you, try Catalog Choice. I’ve used it for years and it works:
You have to create an account and then you can search literally hundreds of catalogs to unsubscribe. It’s awesome and within a couple months they will stop coming to your door.
I made the mistake of signing up for Restoration Hardware once…and if you get them you know that their catalogs are RIDIC. I feel like I kill a tree every time they send them out. This is a great option to lessen the load in your mailbox and in your house.
2. DMA Choice/Do Not Mail: Opt out of junk mail in all forms
Did you know you can opt out of all kinds of offers and junk mail? It helps lessen the paper you’ll bring into your home tremendously. I use DMA Choice
for many marketing mailings. Sign in and you can opt out of catalogs, credit offers and magazine offers:
You can edit your choices at any time!
Then you can go and unsubscribe from pretty much anything else at the National Do Not Mail list:
This one gets pretty specific — chose exactly what you want to get offers on. Can you imagine not getting a million political mailers this fall? That dream may be realized. 🙂
3. Opt Out Prescreen: Stop all credit and insurance offers
Years ago credit offers filled up our mailbox. Then when we paid off all of our debt
(and knew we wouldn’t be opening credit accounts), we knew we could do without them.
Opt Out Prescreen allows you to unsubscribe from credit and insurance offers easily and quickly:
You’ll have to opt out every five years, or they’ll add your name back to the list. They do offer a lifetime option now, but you have to mail that in.
Remember you’ll need to do this for each of you in the home who get mail. Marketers focus primarily on women in the household so even if just the female does it, it will help tremendously.
Step 3: Get rid of paper before you walk in the door.
I keep bins by the garage door — one for paper recycling (mail without our name or account numbers) and one for shredding (everything else). My goal is to get rid of 90 percent of the mail before I even walk in the door. Most of the time it’s 100 percent. 😉
IKEA has nearly identical ones as well! I remove the lids so I can easily chuck stuff inside.
When I keep up with getting rid of most of our mail before I even walk in the house, the paper clutter is kept to a minimum.
What does make it in goes directly into this paper organizer in the mud room:
All of these tips work to bring you less mail and paper to begin with. You can tailor them to what you want and can alway go back and edit most of them if you change your mind.
I can guarantee the paper you’ll bring into your home will lessen within two to three months. And that is the first and most important step to getting control of it!
Do you have any tips when it comes to mail? If you have any tips on organizing receipts for tax reasons, I’d love to hear them!