Rules for Mail: How to Keep it Organized

Dealing with mail every day can quickly become overwhelming and disorganized. Here are a few rules to keep it organized.

Today is Day 24 of this crazy decluttering series, and I came very close to just bagging it. I’ve been very sick for the past several weeks, and many of the big decluttering projects that were planned simply did not come to fruition. I missed several days of work and lamented the fact that I could barely get out of bed, much less go up to the girls’ rooms and deal with their junk.

And now my youngest daughter has come down with the same crud I’ve been fighting. Poor thing. Plus, we have a big Halloween party coming up tonight, and I just want to go to sleep and not write this.

But then I realized that would be kind of like running a marathon and refusing to go further when you only have a mile left. I’ve come this far, and it’s totally stupid to quit, so I’m not going to. But I can’t promise you any earth shatteringly wonderful decluttering projects, because I simply haven’t had a chance to do them.

So I thought that today I would first update you on a couple of the earlier posts in this series. Not following along? You can find all the posts here: 30-day Decluttering Challenge

First, I mentioned that I bought a plastic bag organizer for the kitchen. Well, it came the other day and I put it up next to the broom and I love it. Isn’t it great?

If you want to buy one too, click here: Plastic Bag Organizer.

And after yesterday’s post on clutter hot spots, I got a bee all up in my bonnet to get rid of My Husband’s Gigantic Basket o’ Crap in the dining room. He was very kind to pause the grading of music appreciation papers and help me go through it.

The best part was that we actually threw most of it away! There was a pile to be taken to his office on campus, another pile that could be filed away in my office, and a few other things that belonged elsewhere in the house, but most of that great big basket was just plain garbage!

And boy did it ever feel good to get rid of it.

Want to see how I’m utilizing that basket now?

I decided to put it under the sideboard in the dining room and fill it with tablecloths. I actually had a different basket full of tablecloths before, but it had seen better days, and besides, I liked his basket so much more.

While we were going through My Husband’s Gigantic Basket o’ Crap, I was a little appalled at all of the unopened mail I found in there. That fact, along with the photo of my radiator from yesterday gave me the idea to talk about dealing with the mail today.

Don't let junk mail become more clutter in your home. Deal with it right away with these 4 rules.

My kids love to get the mail. The problem is, I have never designated any set spot for them to put it. Sometimes they throw it on the radiator (most of the time), but sometimes they put it on the couch or the dining room table or my desk. And sometimes I am unaware that they got the mail and I don’t know where they put it, so it gets misplaced.

I imagine that the mail I found in My Husband’s Giant Basket o’ Crap (MHGBOC) was mail they originally put on the dining room table. It got mixed in with some of my husband’s papers, and then he threw it into MHGBOC where it never saw the light of day again.

Luckily for me there were no actual bills. Just mostly junk mail. So now we have new rules for the mail.

Rules for Dealing with Mail

  • Have a designated spot for it.
  • Make sure every person in your family who will possibly get the mail out of the box knows where that spot is and actually puts it there.
  • Have a designated spot for bills, mail that needs to be filed or acted upon, and coupons.
  • Deal with it daily—open everything and either shred it, recycle it, or place it in its designated spot.

The pile of mail you see there on my radiator from the other day included no bills, a few credit card offers, a statement of my airline miles, a bank statement, a very important action item from HR having to do with our insurance, and a Kohl’s coupon.

I shredded the credit card offers and the airline miles statement. They offered for me to use them to purchase magazine subscriptions, but no thank you! I have enough magazines and don’t need more. I put the bank statement and the action item from HR into my inbox to deal with on Friday (today), and I put the coupon into my designated coupon spot, which is my wallet. If it’s not my wallet, I will never use the dang things.

There were also two catalogs, one of which I recycled and the other which I am saving to look through but promise to toss it as soon as I do. Especially since it’s highly unlikely that I will actually purchase anything out of it!

Clutter, you know?

How do you keep your mail from getting out of hand?

A 31 Day challenge to help you get rid of the clutter in your life.

Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.

Want to start the 30-day declutter challenge?

Fill out the form at the very end of this post and you will receive an email each day with a new decluttering assignment.

This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Are you ready to declutter your life?

Join the 31 day challenge to get rid of clutter and make room for peace.

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Hilda Rodgers

We usually open most mail right away but I used to leave piles of it in random spots in the house. Now I deal with it right away most days… and my command centre is a lifesaver for this. Most things either go in the recycling, get shredded, or go in a file in my command centre. No more random piles 🙂 I love your plan and I'm glad you didn't have anything too crucial in that pile!

Jill Morgenstern

"How do you keep your mail from getting out of hand?" Ha! That's a good one! My mail is totally out of control ALL THE TIME! The occupational hazard of having two college students and a high schooler (in addition to the toddler). We actually have everything on your list EXCEPT rule #4. And it's still a mess. And the baskets 'o crap – I could put Maestro to shame. Except, many of them are neatly stored in my closet so you'd never know. 🙂


You know, it only took us 20 minutes to go through that basket o' crap. And the bottom of the basket had magazines/journals dated from 2010–so it's been there a while! It gave me new hope for the other baskets o' crap around the house. 🙂


I need to find out more about your command center. I have one, sort of, but I'm not sure it functions as well as it ought to.

Hilda Rodgers

Lara you can see my posts about it here: My command centre is at the top of that page (6 posts). I looked at a bunch of ideas online and figured out what I needed most (looked at all the piles of paperwork that needed temporary homes) and that's what I came up with. It works for us 🙂 Good luck figuring out what will work for you!

Trained Professional Organizer and Blogger