Create a Workspace for Handling Mail
Designate something as an in-box. It can be a basket, a storage box, a drawer — anything big enough to hold a week’s worth of mail and no more.
Post a large trash can or recycling bin near the in-box to hold all the junk mail that you’ll be purging. Helpful hint: Pitch junk mail the second you reach your in-box each day.
Consider buying a paper shredder. It will let you dispose of documents containing personal information and account numbers without having to worry about identity theft.
Decide on a regular time to sort through your in-box and distribute its contents to the organizational systems you’re about to create. Make it a habit.
Create a System
To keep bill paying from being married to a particular room (and feeling like such a chore), devise a portable filing system that will let you work anywhere you like.
Stash a checkbook, pens, stamps, and envelopes in the back pocket of your organizer so you don’t have to hunt for them when you’re ready to go.
Label the file pockets in a way that works for you, whether that’s day by day — labeled 1 to 31 (great for chronic late payers) — or a pay-this-week and pay-next-week system. (Use the Managing Monthly Bills Worksheet to help you master payment due dates once and for all.)
Then decide on a good time to tackle the job — such as during the two- or three-minute commercial breaks in your favorite TV shows.
When you’ve paid the bills, move them to a file cabinet or box (see 5 Steps to Simpler Record Keeping).
Find Ways to Streamline
Many banks let you set up bill-paying plans.
Some utilities and service companies (cable, phone, Internet providers) offer online and automated-payment options.
Magazines and Catalogs
Magazines and catalogs can overstay their welcome, usually in piles on the coffee table and the nightstand. Give them a (smallish) home and they’ll be easy to keep in line.
Separate these bulky items from your other mail before you even take off your coat. Put them in a designated container so you can transport them easily from room to room for perusing, then to the recycling bin when you’re done.
If you find you’re often loath to part with certain recipes or months-old magazine articles, tear out the pages and store them in a binder or an expandable file.
If there’s a magazine whose issues you haven’t so much as cracked the binding on in six months, consider canceling the subscription.
If you’re inundated with catalogs you have no interest in, call the companies and ask to be taken off their mailing lists.
Article Provided By Alexandra Rowley of Real Simple Magazine