Managing Those Paper Piles

Posted by Sue on Sep 22, 2010  

Dear Breathing Space Readers,

At a  recent workshop the issue of PAPER PILES came up – as it always does!  With Fall underway and daily life shifting from outdoors to in,  paper and mail handling can become particularly annoying.

If the avalanche of paper is something you have conquered… bravo! Give yourself a gold star and skip the rest of this message.

Still here? Okay … The good news is that I’ve once again just seen our paper sorting method work for a client who had struggled with mail forever!

Here are the basics:

Assign ONE surface in your home for the mail. It needs to be at standing height and as close as possible to the door where you come in with the mail.

Clear this surface. If you have old piles there – put them in a box to handle as though they too are incoming mail. But, handle them AFTER you clear the surface.

This is now your one and only mail handling center. ALL incoming mail is placed here. Your goal is to clear this space every day. It REALLY is possible and gets faster and faster as you work the system.

Place recycling & trash bins right there so that while you stand sorting the mail you can TOSS EVERYTHING that isn’t absolutely something you intend to ACT ON.  ACT ON = Read, pay, answer or save (either because it is a treasure or because you HAVE TO save it – tax documents, etc.) Tear or cut credit card offers into several pieces so they can’t be used, or even better, have a shredder right at hand.

Assign a clear location for each of these ACT ON categories. This is where you plan to DEAL with them – Not on your counter. So, bills could go in an “Unpaid Bills” file on your desk; pieces that need a response could live in a basket near your comfy chair in the living room.

If more than one person in your household gets mail – then have an assigned place (basket/cubby) for their mail – in the same locale but not ON the clear surface.

Sort and deliver the mail daily.

This practice can become as habitual as brushing your teeth!

Try it and call or email us about where you get stuck.  And let us hear about your victories too!

Wishing you a great month,

Joanna & Sue


P.S.  One of our weekly “Declutterers” writes, “I liked the format.  It was ‘user-friendly’ all the way:  warm and flexible, informative and helpful.  I really felt right at home, and inspired to take on a couple of tasks tonight, as I said I would.  I mean to make max use of this wonderful opportunity to receive and share ideas and plans.”  If you’re interested in trying out our weekly decluttering call – - RISK FREE – let us know and we’ll sign you up for a trial session.  For more information, visit http://breathing-space.com/membership/

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February 11th, 2014 | 12:24 pm
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