Dealing with the mail that comes into my house has become the bane of my existence. I have heard the advice from all the organizational experts, telling me the first thing to do to gain control over the mail clutter is to stop the mail from coming into your house to begin with. Think of it as being eco-friendly too. Save the trees along with your sanity.
Here's a list of websites to help you get control of the junk mail:
1) Direct Market Association They provide their mail preference service to marketers for the sole purpose of removing consumers' names and addresses from the marketers' mailing lists.
2) End the credit card solicitations Register at this site to rid yourself of those endless credit card solicitations.
3) Catalog choice is a website that will let you opt out of unwanted catalogs.
4) Want someone else to handle it all for you? 41pounds will do just that for a fee. Interesting note, the company is named 41 pounds because that is the weight of the junk mail the average American receives every year.
Second, pay your bills online. Are you still paying your bills the old fashioned way, using checks and stamps and envelopes? How quaint. Now stop it. If every U.S. home viewed and paid its bills online, the switch would cut solid waste by 1.6 billion tons a year and curb greenhouse-gas emissions by 2.1 million tons a year.
Have your paychecks directly deposited into your account. Enroll in automatic bill pay with places that do this such as: gym memberships, daycares, and schools. My son's orthodontist had this set up and it was great not to have to think about it every month. Many banks allow you to pay your bills electronically for free. You will still, however, get a paper bill in the mail. Check out this extensive list of companies that will send you a bill electronically instead.
You can go completely paperless by joining a bill pay service. For a fee companies will collect all of your bills and send you email reminders to pay them, which you then do electronically. The US Postal Service has eBillPay for a fee of $5.95 per month. Or check out CheckFree.com
Third, start a trend of using electronic invitations rather than traditional invitations within your circle of friends. There are several different online sites for sending electronic invitations, evites being the most widely used. I find electronic invitations so much easier to keep organized. They come to my email, I reply instantly and add the date to my desktop and iPhone calenders.
I also have a huge wall calendar that I write on so the children and I can see the entire month at a single glance. Nope, can't jet off to Paris this weekend -- we have two baseball games, a birthday party, and swimming lessons. Not that anyone has asked me to jet off to Paris at a moment's notice, but if they did I would instantly know whether I could go. Or not.
Next time: How to organize the non-junk mail that still comes to your home.