Having a mail organization station near the entry to your house creates a home for incoming papers, mail, and all the things that need to go back out. It’s easy for things to end up in a pile and then finding that one thing you need becomes a big pain. Create a simple mail organizing station that is easy to maintain and fits your family’s lifestyle.
I love having a mail organizing station, or a “home base” as you might call it. Somehow, though, my organization always starts off well and then… Not so much.
But with school starting up soon, I know the amount of papers and other clutter will easily become a mountain if I don’t get reorganized.
The key to organizing is labels. Even if everything has a home, if you don’t remember where it is, you won’t put things where they belong. That’s how we ended up with this.
When we moved into this house, there was an obvious place to put the entryway bench and hanging rack. The bench doubles as shoe storage – we don’t wear them in the house. The wall rack was a $5 thrift store find. It holds the kids’ backpacks during the school year, plus my purse and Hubby’s hat.
There is a tiny closet by the door for jackets, coats and umbrellas.
Creating a mail organizing station
To start my mail organizing station makeover (which is kind of a mouthful to say), I took everything down off of the boards and the shelf. I dumped the pile on my desk and started sorting. Things that actually belonged somewhere else went there.
Expired coupons, scribbled notes, and old catalogs went in the trash. Everything else was divided into categories. I’ll get to those in a minute.
Next, I cleaned the marker board. I just wiped it down with a cloth and Simple Green. Then I wiped it down again with a clean cloth and Simple Green.
It has been a long time since I cleaned that thing, so ghosts of memos past lingered for a minute.
Finally, I started putting everything back.
Organizing the bulletin board
On the bulletin board, I tacked a calendar for each child. Before, I had an all-purpose one that I got for free from Pillsbury. The kids don’t need to know when the electric bill is due, though. And I already have a calendar on my phone and another on my desktop. To top it off, I untack that calendar and carry it over to my desk anytime I use it. Not exactly efficient.
Under the calendars, I hung the kids owl post. Sniffles(9) and Lil’ Wheezy(7) each have their own owl. Hubby and I share one. We send each other letters on and off. It’s a good way for the kids to practice handwriting and for us to encourage them.
You can download my free printable calendar to use for your own family. I created a few versions. The first is a generic monthly calendar. There is space to write in the month and days. The second version is an individual calendar. It has a space to write in your child’s name (or yours), then the month and days. There is also a side section for a to-do list.
I made both in fun colors and also a black and white version that uses less ink. That one could be colored with crayons or markers.
Click HERE to download all the calendars together.
The kids were pretty excited when they saw “their” calendars. I’ll probably print a new one each month. You could also put it in a photo frame and write with a dry-erase marker like Amy of Living Locurto suggests. Her weekly calendar is really cute and she has a different method for organizing the entryway.
Organizing the paper pile
Back to those sorted papers.
I divided everything into four categories. You probably have different ones for your inbox, but mine are:
- insurance forms
- coupons and discounts (besides my grocery coupons, which have a home elsewhere)
- business paperwork
I added a fifth category for things to file in the filing cabinet. I took a set of cute file folders that my mother-in-law gave me and labeled them with my categories. Then I just put everything in its folder and each folder in the mail sorter. Now I have no excuse for a pile.
For the day-to-day mail and papers from school, I’m planning on adding an in/out box. I don’t have the supplies on hand, but it will be like my cereal box magazine storage. Labeled, of course.
Getting your mail organizing station in order will take some work, but once you’ve got the clutter under control, it will save you tons of time every day.