Organize + Energize: 5 Simple Tips to Tackle Mail Clutter During the Holidays
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert
It’s starting to happen. You’re going to find your mailbox is looking a little bit fuller these days. It’s the holiday season and that means more catalogs and flyers are going to be arriving in your mailbox. Do you have a plan in place to not let them end up all over your home?
Here are 5 simple tips to keep the holiday mail clutter tamed:
Toss it before you bring into the home. If you know it’s something that you’re not interested in, toss it before it enters the home. It’s one less thing you have to look at.
Keep it all in one place. If you’re bringing holiday catalogs and flyers into the home, keep them stored in one area. When you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll know exactly where to find them.
Time-sensitive material. Some of these advertisements are time sensitive. For instance, the shopping circulars that you receive on a weekly basis usually have an expiration date. Make a note that if you haven’t looked at them by the end of the week, they need to get tossed.
Rip out pages. If there is only 1 item you want to purchase in a catalog, think about ripping out that page and storing it in a labeled holiday folder. When you’re ready to purchase, you’ll be able to refer to that folder.
Set a time frame. At some point, if you hang onto all of this paper, it’s going to become an overwhelming task to tackle and nothing will get done. If you don’t read it by the end of the week, maybe it’s time to toss it. If you know there’s something in one of those catalogs that you need to purchase, refer to what I wrote above.
Not only do you have to deal with this abundance of holiday mail, but your regular mail is still streaming in and if you don’t have a good system in place, you’re going to be buried under a pile of mail by the end of the year. If you don’t have systems in place, start with this small task of taking control of the flyers and holiday catalogs that arrive during this season. Work on that and then make a plan to tackle and organize your everyday mail after the holidays.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.