{Mail Station: The 5 File Folders}


There’s something about incoming mail that can make a person crazy. Isn’t it amazing how that junk mail seems to pile up so effortlessly! If you’re anything like me, once that pile gets a half a foot high, everything in me just wants to dump it all in the trash and make things nice and neat. Well, reality is: You have to deal with it. Yep, that’s right. You just have to deal with it.

Mixed in with all the advertisements and credit card approval letters, is mail that is, in fact, important. There are bills to open and sort through. There might be important information coming from your child’s school. There might be a letter pertaining an inheritance that has been left to you…… hey, you never know…. checks in the mail are not altogether impossible.

I don’t know about you, but I would hate to miss out on some really important mail because of my lack of organization and responsibility. You have no idea how many times in the past that has been my exact predicament. I’ve lost tickets, money, important documents and so much more simply because I did not take the 5 to 10 minutes necessary to sort through mail.

Now, I’m not going to kid you, it’s not the most fun and exciting task in my day, but it is oh-so-very important! So let me share one very small trick, the five file folders,  I learned from Marcia Ramsland, professional organizer.

You can use whatever system works best for you: a simple magazine holder, a wall rack, a mail tray, whatever… The important thing is to have 5 main folders.

  1. Calendar
  2. To Pay
  3. To Do
  4. To Decide
  5. Your Name (you can add more folders and have one for each family member)

When your mail arrives, you take 5 to 10 minutes to open and skim through.

  • Junk mail immediately goes in the trash.
  • Invitations to parties and events get documented on your calendar (Event, time, date). Keep directions or important inserts pertaining to event and party, throw away the envelope. Put these in the {Calendar} folder. The next time you need to find out if there was a dress code or directions for the event on your calendar, all you have to do is go to the {Calendar} folder and look at the invite. Simple enough.
  • Write down bill dates on calendar and put bills with their return envelope in your {To Pay} folder.
  • If there is a piece of mail that requires you to take action, put it in the {To Do} folder. During your day, when you have an extra 15 minutes, you can go to this file folder and get that done.
  • If there is something that came in the mail that you like but are not ready to make a decision on (an example would be a notice on obtaining life insurance or purchasing something), put it in the {To Decide} envelope. Later when you have some time, you can sit down and review and decide if it’s something you will do. If not, you can throw it out at that time.
  • Anything of interest to you, goes in {Folder with your name on it}.

I added a folder for family members.

My folders go into my oh-so-cute magazine holder. I just love it!!!

Magazine file goes next to the Coupon Binder and the Family Binder.

Take 15 minutes each week to go through your {To Pay} and {To Do} folder. Then throw out anything that is no longer needed for your records. At the end of the month, the folders get cleaned up and you start fresh.

Take it from someone who would rack up so much mail that I would have to fill up grocery bags with them and then spend hours sorting through… this system is a lifesaver. It may seem tedious, but I can assure you, you will get used to it and you will decrease the stress that comes with mounds and mounds of unopened mail!

So how about you? How do you handle “Mail Time”? I’d love to hear you tips and tricks!

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Posted on October 27, 2011, in DAILY LIFE, HOME & ORGANIZATION, HOME MANAGEMENT, LIFE, ORGANIZING and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. This is awesome! Best part is I think it’s actually a system I will really do and keep up with! Thank you so much for posting this!

  2. I am terrible at this, I have little bunches of piles in different places. Ok, I have to ask… are u watching me?lol
    It seems like u are talking just to me… Im loving it. I like that type of folder holder, it seems neeter. Now, what do I do with the school work of my children? I had bought them a folder but its pretty full with all the stuff they do at school. I trash some of it but being that they are at the bigining of their school year I don’t like to get rid of much. Any suggestions?

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