Step 2- Mail (aka, "Junk" and "Other")

My children love going to the mailbox to get the mail. I'm not sure why. Nothing is ever for them. I'm never excited about getting the mail, because it is all for me and it is mostly junk and bills!

In order to make this work you MUST spend 5 minutes (or less) going through the mail everyday. It also helps if you have things electronically sent to you instead of mailed (which leads to a whole different organizational system). Right now my phone bill and cable bill are the only things I get electronically.

When you get your mail, divide it into two piles. Your two piles are "Junk" and "Other". Trash/shred/recycle/throw-away the junk immediately.

Then you are left with "Other". As you open it, divide it up into piles. I have a bills pile, a file pile and then a pile of stuff I need to figure out what I'm going to do with (invitations, thank you cards, etc).

This leads to my basket system.

I also have an IN mail basket and an OUT mail basket. My IN mail basket is bills that have not been paid. The only other thing in this basket are things that I "might" need. For example, I got a 20% off from Kohls Coupon. I'm not sure I will use this, but I don't want to lose it, so this is where it goes. If I got an invitation, I would leave it in my in basket until the event is over (and I would also write the event on the calendar).

My OUT basket (pictured) serves three purposes. Any mail that needs to be filed goes right in this basket. My savings account statement that shows I earned 3 cents interest last month gets put in this basket. I don't have time to file it right now, and I don't want to lose it, so it gets put in this basket. This basket is located by the computer, and once the bills have been paid, they go in this basket (ready for filing). Then the last thing in this basket is an envelope that has receipts in it. I create a new envelope each month (the last month gets filed away). This way if I need to return something, I'll have the receipt.

I don't spend much money on baskets. I love ones that only cost $1!

Eventually your baskets will get full! About every two weeks I go through the IN Basket and pitch anything that is past. Usually about once a month, I go through the OUT basket and file everything.


  1. Love the basket idea!!! I am going to find a spot for them and implement it!! thank you.

  2. I love the idea of an envelope to keep receipts together in one place. I do have this 3 tier stacking thingy which I try to keep organized, but it gets full way too fast. I need to be more on top of tossing the stuff that I really don't need to keep, and remembering to file once it starts overflowing!