Eliminating mail clutter

A Word About Your New Years Resolution – Don’t give up!
Do you have a master plan to accomplish your New Year’s resolution this year? Many of our resolutions begin to falter in late January because of poor planning.

Have you spelled out exactly what accomplishing your goal means to you? Specifically, if your goal is to get into better shape, does this mean the ability to run three miles, drop 10 pounds or to fit into a size 32 slack?

Be very literal with what steps you need to perform to accomplish your goal. For instance, if your goal is to run six miles in the Labor Day Race, you can chart where you are now and know that if you increase your distance 1/4 mile every week, you will succeed.

Breaking your goal into smaller steps will help you track each success along the way, which in turn, reinforces your goal. Try it if you haven’t already. With a little planning and a lot of clarity, I guarantee you will be closer to manifesting your dreams!

Dear Kathi,

I am trying to take your advice about de-cluttering my house this month. I’ve been doing ok but my mail is a constant nuisance that clutters my kitchen. I have a home based business so I tend to get more mail than the average household. What can I do with my piles of mail?

Kirsten, Cardiff

Kirsten,

To get mail under control: Do not pass go, in other words, don’t bring it into the house until you’ve done a first toss. This means sorting mail over a trashcan before you enter your home and tossing the junk immediately. A trashcan in the garage or by the back door is convenient for this. Do your tossing when you’re not distracted, after briefcase, groceries, or kids are safely inside the house.

Sort your remaining mail into business/ personal stacks and save it for review later. Give your remaining mail a “home.” Put each stack in a designated place keeping business separate from personal.
For business matters, use a vertical desk top file system. You could use these sample categories; To File, To Pay, To Read, Waiting for a Response, Data Entry, or what ever works best for your thought process.
For personal correspondence, you might use a basket. A basket will contain your mail and keep it separate from your business materials. It also provides portability, leaving you the option of paying bills in the kitchen, den or terrace. You can also keep stamps, return labels and envelopes tucked into this basket.

You now need a routine to deal with your mail. Set a consistent time every week to handle bills, credit card statements, etc. You should have two appointments set; one for business mail during the workweek and one for personal mail sometime in the evening or weekend. Try to separate these task times or you could get distracted with personal issues during productive business hours. Setting a scheduled time every week will help you remain in control of your paperwork and better able to see the bank overdraft, important appointment notices or the erroneous charge on your credit card.
Hopefully you have a file system that works well for you. If you need any information on file systems, I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

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