Tips: Deal with a Flood of Mail
Save on long-distance rates! Don’t miss this sale! Pay this bill! While the U.S. Postal Service prides itself on delivering the mail come rain, sleet or snow, you could use some shelter from the storm. Reclaim your kitchen counter—and your life—by adopting one or all of these strategies.
1. Keep your filing system simple and weed on a regular basis.
2. Establish a mail station in your home or office using, for example, two baskets and a trash can. Sort mail immediately and try to touch each piece only once: act on it, file it or throw it out.
3. Recycle junk mail without opening it.
4. Keep a basket at hand where you can toss the magazines and catalogs. Once the basket is full, recycle the contents after tearing out (and filing) any articles you want to keep.
5. File only those papers you need to retain, such as taxes and personal documents. Ask your accountant to clarify how long you should keep different documents. In general, keep bills from the previous month, then shred and toss them once they’re reconciled. (You’ll need to hang on to bills longer if you’re self employed.
6. Protect yourself against identity theft. Shred any documents that contain account numbers, Social Security numbers or other personal, sensitive information.
Opt for electronic subscriptions of magazines and newspapers, if available, and print out only what you want to read.
Cut down on the amount of junk mail you receive. Remove your name from junk-mail lists by contacting the Direct Marketing Association.
If you don’t have a shredder, tear up and separate pieces of sensitive documents.