Monday October 30, 2006

It could just be because our mailbox is currently being flooded daily with campaign and election flyers.  It could be because I’ve completely abandoned my time-honored system of dealing with catalogues and am now looking at a HUGE stack on my counter.  It could be because I’ve spent the last two weeks being injured and sick and am just longing to get back into the swing of things.  Whatever the reason, I thought today would be a good day to think about handling the daily mail, including what to do with all of those magazines and catalogues.

As with anything in your home, having a system in place makes managing the daily mail easier and more efficient.  Here’s what I’ve found works best in my home.

I have a bit of a walk to my mailbox.  Walking back up the driveway gives me a chance to sort through the mail a bit.  Well, usually.   On some days the stack of mail absolutely fills our large rural mail box, and it’s all I can do to bundle things together and get them up the drive without leaving a trail of flyers and missing children cards in my wake.  Every trip to the mail box necessitates a scratch on the head for our resident rodent control expert, Miss Meow.

My first stop is the garbage can.  I place all of the mail on top of the recycling can and then plow through the stack.  There wasn’t too much mail today.  This time of the year, with all of the campaign flyers and such, I sometimes deposit 90% of the day’s mail into the garbage can!!  Please do not think that we don’t take election time and voting seriously.  We most certainly do!  However, we do our own research on the candidates and for the ballot measures and do not use the mountains of stuff sent to us, unsolicited, through the mail.

Once the junk mail has been taken care of, the rest of the mail is brought into the house.  The only mail that made it past the garbage can today, were two bills. 

Any mail for Dani is delivered to the white table in her room.    If my boys get any mail, which doesn’t happen often, they are given their mail immediately.  The only exception to this is the thirteen year old’s Lego Magazine and catalogues, which he receives at the end of the day AFTER homeschool and chores are completed.  

I pull out my personal mail and put all the bills and other mail for Copper in the wooden basket on our big  desk.

I usually try to sit down and look through any personal mail of my own right away.  If I can’t, I put it next to my electronic brain lap top and take a look at it as soon as I can.  Invoices for things I’ve ordered are either paid immediately, or are put into Copper’s bill paying folder with a note asking him to pay it for me at a later date.  Flyers for special deals and/or sales are either noted on the calendar and then thrown away, or they are just tossed without calendaring.  Invitations requiring an RSVP are usually dealt with by an immediate phone call, or an e-mail is sent.  The invitation date and time are then put on the calendar and the invitation is then tossed.

Book club mailings are also dealt with immediately.  I open them up when I get to my personal mail, quickly look through all the flyers and monthly offerings, toss the whole thing away, and then go to the computer to either order up the monthly selection or to decline the monthly selection.  Done deal and no postage necessary.

Periodicals – Our weekly local newspaper usually makes the rounds through whatever family members are home on Wednesdays, and  it is then put into the recycling basket in the kitchen.  If Copper is working on Wednesday, the newspaper gets put into his mail basket with the other mail after the rest of us have read it.  The World magazine always goes to Copper first so he can take it to work to be read during breaks.  The rest of us read it when it comes back into the house.  World, and most other magazines, end up on the living room coffee table.

Once a month, when I’m spending a week doing the more thorough cleaning of Mail 003_320x240 the living room, I sort through the magazines on the coffee table and place the out of date ones into the recycling basket.  Home decorating  magazines will often wind up in the basket in my parlor at that time.    This basket can get pretty full during the warm weather months.  Beginning this time of year, however, I will often spend a bit of time in the evenings just before Copper gets home going through these and tearing out the pictures that inspire me for projects in my home.

After the pictures are torn from the magazines, they go here. Mail 009_320x240 I keep a file folder for each of several different areas in my home (kids’ rooms, living room, kitchen, master bed & bath, laundry room, back yard, etc.) or for types of projects (gift ideas, Christmas decorations, kids’ crafts, seasonal/holiday ideas, etc.).   I splurged and bought one box of pink hanging Mail 010_320x240 folders for these magazine clippings!  The magazines are then either recycled, or passed along to someone else (only if I haven’t torn too many pages out of them!)

We do receive two magazines that we use in our Mail 008_320x240 homeschooling.  The new issues of ZooBooks and Nature Friend magazine are put immediately upon arrival into these magazine holders on one of the nature bookshelves in the schoolroom.  (It’s hard to see Nature Friend, but they are in a clear magazine holder just to the right of the ZooBooks.)

Catalogues – I have a love/hate relationship with catalogues.  I really do.  I  LOVE pouring over homeschooling catalogues to see what’s new or what might be on sale.  I LOVE looking through catalogues like Gooseberry Patch, Terry’s Village or Timeless Treasures.  I LOVE browsing through the clothing cataloguesMail 005_320x240 and seeing what’s new.  This time of year, especially, I LOVE looking through the Highlights for Children, MindWare (not to mention Vision Forum!!) and other children’s catalogues looking for unique gift ideas for my children and grandchildren.  However, I HATE what happens with these catalogues after they come.  Yep, this picture shows the current state of affairs here at command central (the tiled counter in my schoolroom where all homeschool and home maintenance business is carried out).

I do, however, have a pretty good system for dealing with catalogues (when I Mail 007_320x240 use it!).  That’s what happens when you ignore your own advice!!   Here’s where the catalogues are SUPPOSED to go.   Anytime a new catalogue comes into the house, the old edition is pulled out of the plastic organizer, tossed into the recycling basket, and replaced with the new one (after I’ve looked through it, of course!). This way, anyone can find a particular catalog fairly easily and they are not cluttering up our home!!  These holders are on the top of the bookshelves just to the left of my lap top, and are within easy reach for me when I’m working there.  The magazine holders can be purchased very inexpensively (the last ones I bought were 3/$3.00 at WalMart), and I use them not only for the catalogues, but also for the boys’ ZooBooks and Nature Friend magazines.

Wading through stacks of old magazines and/or catalogues once every few months can take hours.  Losing coupons or forgetting to return a book club mailing can be expensive.  Taking care of the mail, including the magazines and catalogues, right away and having a place for everything to go, takes only a very few minutes a day, AND saves you time and money in the long run!

Do you have a system that works well for you? How do you deal with the stacks of mail, magazines and catalogues?  Let me know by sharing your tips in the comments.  We can all pick up some great new tips from one another.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your households!
Proverbs 31:27


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8 comments to Monday October 30, 2006

  • :goodjob:  Cheryl! Sometimes (often!) your posts are so timely for me.  I’m in desperate need of getting back to my paper taming routines and your post gave me just the boost I need!

    Thanks for taking the time to write such thoughtful and helpful posts! I’m off to sort and reorganize my systems!

    Fondly, Lisa

  • Okay, that’s waaaaaaaaaay to organized for me!  :fun:

    We’re doing good to keep lego’s out of the train bucket!  😆

  • Wow, I’m impressed!  It sounds like you have it down to a science!  I’m like you, on my walk from the mailbox to the house I go directly to the reclycling bin and  probably get rid of 75% of the “stuff.”  It is a happy day at the home-place when a treasured letter is amongst all those  “nasty bills!” LOL

  • :rolleyes:i like the picture of the kitty best! I toss most of it before i make it to the house in the garbage can OUTSIDE!  :goodjob:

  • I am still trying to find a system to use here in our home to keep the magazines and catalogs. The junk mail goes immediately in the trash. Zoobooks and etc go to kids’ book shelves. I need to clean out one of my craft baskets (instead of buying another basket) and use that for magazines in the living room that I haven’t finished with.

    Paper clutter is something that seems to multiply daily!


  • You have a great way of dealing with all the papers, I was taking notes for sure! This is our system: I sort the junk mail(throw it out) from the regular mail and put it in the pile for Phillip to go through. He takes out what he needs and leaves the rest. When this pile gets huge, I throw it in a box and but it in his closet. He plans on going through it one day. Some of the boxes are 7 years old. Ack! Magazines that I don’t really care about go in the bathroom rack until the cat scratches them up and then they go in the garbage. As you can see I need a new system! LOL

  • Kelli – “Magazines that I don’t really care about go in the bathroom rack until the cat scratches them up and then they go in the garbage.”

    ROFLOL!!!!  :giggle::laugh:

  • Love it!  I used to do a system much like this.  I have to get back in the habbit! 🙂