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It’s in the mail

 

Do you still get snail mail? How full is your email inbox? Is the phase ‘it’s in the mail’ still valid?

We have had a post office box for quite a few years now, I am not sure why, because we have no plans to move, but at least if we go away we don’t have to worry abut mail piling up.  I only get one account coming to my house and that is only because I may need it for RICA purposes. The post office box is only for things like the professional magazines that we both get for our respective qualifications as well as for . a few other things where electronic/email is not an option.

Paper mail

If you are getting paper mail, do you have a system where you glance through the envelopes and then put all the post back unopened? This week we are looking at a working system, where your bills will not lie forgotten amongst the junk mail, the invitations to events also forgotten and your RSVP is sent at the last minute.

Do you still get post?
Do you still get post?

It’s time to sort. Every day the post should be put in the same place.  In my house this was a problem because it was put with all the other papers we keep accumulating! At one stage I got rid of 4 months’ worth of local newspapers!  Amongst the pile I found unopened bills and a water maintenance notification – for the water interruption that had happened the month before!

 

Now there is a specific place to which the little bit of paper mail that we still receive goes and I then sort it into 1) the dustbin/unsubscribe;    2) to be paid/dealt with;    3) invitations.

Sorting your mail, will help you stay on top of your bills
Sorting your mail, will help you stay on top of your bills

Events

For me, invitations for me are a challenge.  With 4 children, and being Jewish, we get a fair amount of invitations for Bar or Bat Mitzvah’s (similar to confirmation parties, it is a coming of age, boys at 13 and girls at 12). When the kids were younger, they would get party invitations at school, put them in their bags and then forget to give them to me at night when I got home.   This meant that I needed to remember to clear out their school bags regularly.

Now the invitations arrive by email which is how we sent ours, or they are sent via Whatsapp!

To keep track of all this, I tried my mother’s method, a diary!  It didn’t work as I kept forgetting to look in the diary and you would suddenly find me rushing around looking for a last minute gift. (I have since learned to buy as many gifts as I can, when possible, at the beginning of the year).

Day planner
Keeping a diary or day planner is one way of keeping track of your events and tasks

Then I tried a file with labelled events – which worked about as well as the diary! I tried using the calendar on my phone, with only slightly better results. Now I have put up a year calendar.  As soon as an invitation arrives, I write it on the calendar and, at the same time I save it to my phone so that I have both the address and phone number.  We still use the fridge for saving physical invitations but after 3 weeks I tend to not notice them anymore.

I still forget things, for instance, if I see the email with the invitation while I am at work, I will probably forget to write it on the calendar.

Sorting

It is also important to create a specific place for your physical mail to be dumped. If you can train the hubby and kids to drop their bills, notices, flyers and invitations in the same place everyday, you will have better luck keeping on top of it all.

Your emails

What does your email box look like? My husband very carefully and cleverly, set up his emails so they are sorted into folders as they arrive.

With his permission, I have included a screen shot of his Outlook!

With his permission, this is a screen shot of my husband's inbox
With his permission, this is a screen shot of my husband’s inbox

The best way is to delete emails you know you will not need again as soon as they arrive. I made space on the calendar for 2 x 15 minute sessions for unsubscribing from emails you no longer need and deleting those that are obsolete.

Phone books and cards

I find new business flyers or cards in my post box daily, or you meet someone who gives you a business card. Either toss them out if it is not something you will ever need, or write the information into your contacts file which you created last week and recycle the paper!

Old telephone directories, if you still get them, also need recycling!

Less is more

Clearing out old emails on a daily basis will save you a lot of time.  How often have you searched through your emails looking for something specific but the key word you used for the search has brought up almost all your emails?

How full is your inbox? My gmail has 500 read emails and no unread, my business email box has 300 with only 10 unread.

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