Organizing Mail/Bills

teechahNovember 17, 2006

How do you keep daily mail/bills/paper from piling up? I already toss junk mail; and most of our bills are paid online. But, the paper keeps piling... I can't stand it!

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Redefine junk mail. If it's not a bill, if it's not junk, then what is it? A letter from Aunt Sally can be placed next to your chair, so when you sit down you jot her a note back. Catalogs you really want can go in a magazine rack until you've purged them. Coupons from eating places can go wherever you keep those.

Now, papers. I make a point of clearing them and filing them once a week. I have a specific place designated for this paper pile. If I need to find something between filing that's the only place I have to look. Half the time I can pitch a bunch of them because a week later I don't need them anyway. Give yourself a specific spot to put the papers for short term storage. Do you have a decent, easy to use filing system set up?


    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 1:39PM
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"How do you keep daily mail/bills/paper from piling up? "

Deal with it all daily! Do not create piles of any sort that you have to deal with later.

Mail is opened and outer envelopes immediately tossed.
Bills are paid that day, receipt filed, and envelope is ready to be mailed the next morning. DONE and NO pile.

Magazines go into a basket - the previous month's issue is immediately tossed. I keep the currnet month for the monthly magazines, and 4 weeks worth of the weekly ones.

Catalogs that I use go into a basket and the old one is immediately tossed. If I get a catalog Idon't want, I call the 800# of any catalog, ask to be taken off their lists and toss the catalog.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 3:05PM
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you need (well, I need, but you too) to set aside time to DO the paperwork.

You can't necessarily pay the bills the moment they arrive. Nor can you fill out the form for school the moment it touches your hand.

You need both an In box AND a set time that you sit down and plow your way through them.

Also, toss paid bills, and only keep 1 year's worth of financial statements. Throw away the year-ago one when you file the current one.

get a really GOOD filing cabinet. One or two up from the bottom of the line at a true office-furniture store (NOT Staples). Spend no less than $120 for a two-drawer.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 5:14PM
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Bills: I have online banking, so I go to it post the bill and tell the computer when to pay it. Mark the check book.
Magazines: Most go to the Air Force Base hospital/clinic where daughter works. They can go to nursing homes, medical clinics, some libraries, and even the one's with lots of pictures to Day Care centers
Filing: Because of my background, I do keep probably more than I need, but it gets filled and cleaned out at least once a year.
Find out how long to keep information. I keep some credit card statements for 3 years, mainly because I have had to go back to research problems regarding RV clubs we belong to.
Catalogs: Most get tossed, as that information is on line, but I do keep some until the next issue comes.
Religous magazines: Sometimes the church will take them to give to new members and for mission work.
Scrap booking stuff--never gets tossed.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 3:06PM
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I've been trying really hard to handle each paper only once.

I also pay my bills the day they arrive and file the receipts. Financial papers go in the file cabinet. Health insurance problems (trust me, it's not a Explanation Of Benefits, it's always a problem) have a special folder in the kitchen. Letters and cards requiring a reply go in my purse to be answered at lunchtime the next day. Newsletters worth reading go in my lunch bag. Coupons or sales flyers I actually think I need go in the door pocket of my car. Everything else pretty much goes in the recycling bin.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:20PM
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Get the mail and open it right then.. open ALL bills and envelopes.. stick all bills toghether and staple them and put them in *bill box* for husband to pay. Note any other items that need to be noted on calendar. Put catalogs in bahtroom by tub to look at when I soak and shread any credit card offers. Dh pays bills 2x a month. Most of it's really on-line but a few we will have to make out checks.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 10:49PM
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I have Bank of America and almost all my bills are received electronically through them and a few to my e-mail. Occasionaly I may get a dentist or dr bill, but other than that no bills in the mail!!

I signed up to opt out of all the junk mail and that cut it down quite a bit. I have started tossing coupons and catalogs right away as I never end up using them or looking at them.

For the occasional letter, mostly I get e-mails, it goes on my desk.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 12:24PM
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I have two small business's. For quite a while, I had problems with paperwork. No matter how hard I tried, it just was not where it needed to be.

Then one day, someone I know who is an accountant, filled me in on how he keeps his mountains of paper organized. I've used the system for years and it got me out my rut. I now can have my tax figures ready in about 15 minutes. Here goes.

First of all you need a place where you can toss all of your mail and invoices when you get them. (This beats having stuff strung all over the place, and you can access it easily . It's also very simple to toss your paper into one designated area when you get it. ). It can be a paper bag, a box anything that will hold your stuff for one month. I put all of my receipts, mail, bank statements, debit card receipts, and ALL other paper into a box when it comes into my office. Every week, I make it a point to check for bills only. I then mark on my schedule when it is due and the amount. I also write a check for the bill, stamp the envelope, and get it ready for the mail. All other receipts that do not need my attention but want to hang on to anyway, get grouped together with a rubber band. This separates what needs your attention from what does not It also keeps things together and you can locate receipts if you decide you need them.

Wallet receipts get emptied weekly or when my wallet getÂs full. Receipts that need attention get marked if I have time.

I repeat this method weekly. I've got it down to about 15 minutes that I spend on paperwork each week. At the end of each month, the bills are taken care of and I have receipts etc. that I will probably not need, however, I keep them for another month just in case.

After keeping them for two months, I shred them. I don't even look at them, because I know I don't need them.

Monthly totals are kept on envelopes with everything that I need. This includes tax figures, expenses, etc. etc. Each envelope has the figures and categories on the outside that are easily totaled at the end of the year.

The key to the system is simplicity. Tossing your stuff into a box or bag when you get it is easy. ItÂs in one place, so if you need to, you can access it without much of a search.. When you deal with bills etc. weekly, you donÂt have to worry about them through the week. Totals kept on the outside of the envelope with receipts and other important figures inside, give easy access for yearly totals.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 1:47PM
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I'm new but this is what I do after 20 years of trial and error.

every day after school I have a two hour time when the whole family sits in our library the kids do homework if they have no homework they have to read or study or help each other but they must spend the time studying. while they are doing that I go through the mail.

when I get the mail out of the box my first stop is at the outside trash can.

next is at a little mail center that I have set up in my mud room. since I have married children and a brother that lives next door I often end up with thier mail. I have mail slots labled with thier names on them. I sort my mail out of everyone elses.

I then sit with my kids and pay any bills since we have two lap tops in the library I pay my bills on line. I tell my kids this is my homework. I also balance my check book at this time. I know how much is in their to the penny every single day. It makes me feel secure and helps me sleep at night.

When I couldn't afford to pay my bills as they came in I used to open the bill and toss the outer envelope write the check out put a stamp on and put it into a file to be sent when the money was there.

now I pay as they come in.

I also check my balance every morning first thing because it's too stressful to worry about.

I stress out too much about bills so I don't let them pile up.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 2:12PM
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Incoming mail goes on the island counter to be dealt with the same day. Bills to be paid go into a small wire basket next to my computer. Magazine/catalogs I want to look at go into a magazine rack in the bedroom. Junk mail goes right into recycling. DH's "stuff" stays on the counter until the next morning. If he hasn't dealt with it, I put it into his "incoming" box which is on a shelf over my computer.

I try to keep the files cleaned up as I do the accounting. When I balance the checkbook, I file the statement and at the same time pull out the older statement (I keep 2 months of statements). Same thing for paid bills - keep the most recent and shred the older ones. Most of my bills are paid automatically, that helps cut down on the paperwork.
If I don't deal with it right away, I swear it reproduces...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 1:42PM
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I can't argue with any of the above methods. When I finally get to set up my desk again next week, I intend to get some of these for keeping papers together. there are a lot of papers I tend to keep on my desk that don't merit a separate file, but these labeled paper clips will make it easier to keep things straight. This link was posted by someone else on this forum originally.

Hmmn, it worked a few minutes ago, but isn't right now! Maybe later...

Here is a link that might be useful: PendaFlex label clips

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:03PM
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Just to give a slightly different point of view... I don't do anything daily. I just get way too much mail to go through it every day, separate it, manage it, pay that day's bills, etc. All my mail goes into one pile on my desk every day. I glance through it for anything that might require immediate attention, but otherwise I take no action.

Once a week (normally on Saturday mornings) I go through the entire week's stack. I make several piles: shredder, recycle, bills/other financial stuff, kids' mail, personal mail (invitations, thank yous, etc.), whatever, then disburse each pile as appropriate.

I pay bills twice a month - that's when we get paid. I keep track on an excel spreadsheet of which bills I pay at the beginning of the month and which ones I pay in the middle, and I use online banking.

I think it is great if you can do this daily, but for me, it's an unrealistic goal - I'm just not up to in addition to all the other stuff I have to do when I get home from work.

My point is, it's important to set a regular schedule/process of some kind, be it daily or weekly or whatever; make sure it's realistic/reasonable enough to stick to; and then carry it through.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:35PM
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