View Full Version : What do you do with mail when it arrives and before it is filed away/dealt with?

10-12-2010, 02:31 AM
Mail is the great bane of our existence. Somehow, DH manages to deal with his mail, dispose of it, file it away, act on it, all on the day it arrives. He then has a stack of "To do" mail piled up unattractively on our living room bookshelf.

My mail on the other hand - I'm lucky to even find it (DH brings it in). I should deal with it immediately but I don't. Then it really stacks up. Then the mail I need to act on, but not right away, is stacked up in another place - all confusing and aggravating.

Here's what I do already - pay as many bills as possible online to avoid getting mail and missing an important payment. Gotten off as many junk mail and catalog lists as possible, and dispose of junk mail promptly.

Here's what I need help with:
1) Where to direct DH to put my mail as it arrives so it doesn't get lost (which has happened before). Is there some kind of compact and attractive inbox people use? Our apartment is tiny, no hallway/entry way with a table for mail or any such thing. Walk in to the living room, and the other choice is our bedroom, which is also the nursery. So it has to be something that will work in a living room or bedroom space.
2) Where to put the "act on" stuff that needs to sit out for at least a short while until it's deal with.
3) A method for keeping track of what mail needs to be acted on and by when. Do you add this to your weekly "to do" list?
4) Encouragement for dealing with mail promptly. I have a great role model in my DH but I am AWFUL in comparison! Please tell me I'm not alone!

TIA for any advice!

10-12-2010, 06:39 AM
I have a solution for this! :yay:
I never have a solution for anything in this forum, but for this... I actually do!!!

When I was teaching, my assistants would bring stuff from my box and toss it on my desk. It made me :angry-smiley-005: so I got a large magazine file http://www.amazon.com/Universal%C2%AE-Recycled-Plastic-Large-Magazine/dp/B002XJM7XY and stuck a 5 x 7 index card on the front that said "mail for MYNAME" with the mail for part being very small on top and the name being huge. In tiny letters, I put "old" on the top left corner of the file with an arrow. On the top right corner, I put "new" with an arrow pointing to that corner. It looks like the newer files have a smaller faceplate, so a 4x6 may work better. Whatever the case, that's where you can make it prettier to match your decor. Scrapbook paper, card stock, fancy writing, whatever- to make it harmonize while still being insanely useful. Only that front part shows.

When I had roommates, I did the same in the linen closet on the shelf. One bin for each roommate, plus another for catalogs/magazines, and another for junkmail (recycling). I've used this system for 10 years now and it has kept me ridiculously happy. DH and I decided to move it to the built-in in the middle of the house now - by the kitchen/dining area right where we drop our keys and stuff into a container. It makes for a perfect unloading spot.

You can train your DH to bring the mail in, sort his, yours, and the junk mail before it ever gets put down on a flat surface. The 3 bins take up a couple feet on the shelf I think, but they are OH SO worth it. I was actually thrilled when I found 3 more of the bins at a yard sale this weekend for $1. :love-retry:

ETA: We do not have a set time to go through it, but we ought to. And...my box is half full of HA catalogs I don't want to get tossed accidentally. Is there a patch of empty wall space you could use somewhere for a small shelf or maybe box up some books on a bookshelf and stick 3 bins in there at eye level? A mantle would be a great height for it too.

10-12-2010, 08:05 PM
I have the same problem. I keep setting up baskets for each of us, but when they are overfull DH just squirrels his away somewhere. I try to spend a few minutes each day sorting through, but never get to the really pressing "TO DO" stuff. I usually just shove it in my purse so I have to run across it sooner. I did buy one of these and am thinking it might help and not add to the vertical piles on the kitchen table:


10-12-2010, 10:42 PM
Well, I sort all of our mail and try hard not to let dh get his hands on it because he doesn't sort properly. LOL. So can you delegate to your dh?

I recently set up a small file holder on my kitchen counter, where my unmanageable pile used to be. I created hanging file folders for bills to pay, file, coupons and checks, invitations and events, and misc. My plan is to pay bills every Monday and file on the first Monday of each month, also clearing out the other folders as appropriate then.

I just instituted this system but so far it is working well.


10-12-2010, 11:54 PM
watching this thread....mail is the bain of my existence.

10-13-2010, 12:20 AM
since space is tight, have you considered a wall mounted file system/magazine rack? i have one hanging on the inside of a closet door. mine has 3 sections. i use one for things coming in, one for things that need to be taken care of immediately, and one for things that don't need immediate attention.
there are so many types and styles to choose from. you can also add file folders to help organize things further (maybe color coded). to keep track of what needs to be done when, you can just write the deadlines on post its and stick them to the top of the file folders so that you can see all of them whenever you glance at the system. or keep a calendar in front and mark the calendar (either w/specific items or the color of the folder that those items are in).

10-13-2010, 12:32 AM
DH brings the mail in and puts it on the kitchen table. As soon as I see it, I immediately sort through it and throw any ads and junk mail in the recycling box in the breakfast nook. We do not get magazines. Catalogs usually get tossed in the recycling bin. Even if its the weekly grocery store ad that I might want to look at later I throw in the recycling bin. Chances are I won't look at it. If I do want to look at it, I can find it easily in the recycling bin (which usually only gets emptied once a month or so). All other mail gets placed in a small vertical mail file to be paid...usually every other week shortly after payday. We have something like this...


I see these all the time at the thrift store.