Most of my clients struggle with incoming mail. They drop it on the first available surface – dining room table, coffee table, counter, laundry basket, etc. Consequently, they lose bills and pay late fees and finance changes. Follow these tips to keep it all together.
Things you will need:
• Recycle Bag
• Reading Box
• Decorative Mail Box
• Bill Binder
• File Folders
• A plastic bin for each child
Organize Your Mail
• When you bring the mail in, immediately toss the junk mail in a Recycle Bag.
• Edit magazines, catalogs and newsletters and place the ‘keepers’ in a Reading Box. This not only prevents stacks, but it helps you set a size limit for this type of clutter. When the box is full – time to purge.
• Place the remaining mail in a Decorative Mail Box. Whether you use a cardboard box or purchase a decorative box, ALWAYS place mail in this box.
• Open the mail once a week and follow these guidelines:
Purchase a 3-ring binder and 3-ring binder pockets (package of 5). The first pocket is for bills due on the 1st, the second is for bills due on the 15th. Place everything you need to pay bills in the remaining pockets – stamps, envelopes, address labels, etc., Keep the Bill Binder in the Decorative Mail Box.
Place non-bill related items in the following folders. You may need to add a file or two for your specific needs. Store these folders in your Decorative Mail Box or create a separate “home” for them.
• To Do – Highlight the deadline date and write down detailed notes of every action you take. Review this folder at least once a week.
• Filing – Before delegating items to this folder, recycle the envelopes and ads and unfold and staple documents. File at least once a month.
• Medical – for ongoing medical issues. Once you match the bill with the Explanation of Benefits, place these in your Filing folder.
• Receipts (by year) – This folder keeps these pesky clutter creators in one place and makes it easy to find a receipt if you need to return something. At the end of the year, archive, shred or burn the contents. Business owners, you need to keep receipts for 7 years – archive this file.
• A file for each child – When this file is full, place the items in that child’s plastic bin. At the end of the school year, sort through it with your child to find the gems and make a scrapbook for that year. Toss the rest. This is a great project for those rainy days.
Paying your Bills
• Once the bills are paid, place them in your Receipts folder.
• Signing up for on-line banking and auto withdrawals will save you a lot of time. You can always dispute a charge with your credit card company in case you don’t catch a bill with an error on it.
• If budgeting is a concern, change the due date of your credit card so it is not due the same time as your mortgage.