Sorting mail is no fun. But that does not mean it can’t be pretty. To be totally truthful…we do not have the perfect system…not even close. The mail still piles up, things still get lost, and it always drives me nuts. All we can do is try to be better…to immediately sort, throw away the junk mail, and put the keep pile away. That is where my mail sorting solutions come in.
First is the “mail box”. This is the in box where we put incoming mail if we can’t sort it right away. Unfortunately, it is also where some mail stays way too long. Sometimes the box overflows with mail on top of the box or on the surrounding counter. (Okay, by sometimes I really mean all the time).
The “mail box” started out life looking like the before picture above. I found it for $6 at HomeGoods. The size was perfect. It can hold catalogs and large envelopes. I hated the cover, but loved the faux pages that looked like a big weathered phonebook. I recovered just the cover of the box with some Martha Stewart wrapping paper I have had for years. I used mod podge to make it extra durable. I also added little felt feet to the box to set it on the counter.
The location of the box is important. It is on the end of the island right as you walk into the kitchen from the mud room. It is also sitting just above the pullout cupboard that has our trash and recycling bin. Ideally, the mail would be sorted initially to recycle the junk mail and remove the stuff that should be shredded. The rest would go in the box until there is time to go through it more thoroughly (or when we are looking for a bill).
The next step in the mail sorting includes these great hanging sorters by Real Simple from Target. I hung three of them on the oven wall. This wall is just off the mud room and barely in the kitchen. It is easily accessible, but out of view when you are in the kitchen or living room.
I labeled the three sorters “do”, “read”, and “keep”. When I actually have time to really sort the mail, I put all the bills that need to be paid or mail I need to respond to in the “do” bin. I also put coupons in there so I can grab them quick if we are on the way out to a particular store. In the “read” bin I put my favorite catalogues, newsletters, etc that I want to read later. In the “keep” bin I put all the paid bills, statements, etc that we want to keep. Things stay here temporarily (okay, usually months and months) until they can be filed away in the office. I am going to admit, these wall pockets were so full recently that they fell off the wall. The top pocket is hanging from 3M adhesive hooks and I exceeding the weight with my un-filed mail. I rehung them and now have motive to keep them under control.
I am trying my best to keep the mail clutter at bay, but for now I am just happy to keep it pretty :) The label holders on these wall pockets inspired the other pops of teal and lime in the mud room makeover.
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