Mail has been a huge problem for us since we moved. One of the reasons we have a problem is because part of our system for processing mail is in one house, and the other part is in the new house. For a month and a half, I have found mail on the kitchen table, the kitchen counter, my desk chair, on top of the washing machine, and in the car (and, as much as I would like to blame my husband for this, I’m primarily the one responsible). It’s amazing how when there isn’t a set system for processing mail, it ends up everywhere except for where it is supposed to be deposited.
The other component to our problem is that we don’t have a good place to hide our paper shredder, recycling bin, and trash can in the new place (the tools we use to get rid of junk mail). The foyer doesn’t have wall space, so hiding these items by the front door is impossible. All the mail, including junk mail, has to come inside the house. This bothers me. And, instead of looking for a solution, I’ve been ignoring the problem hoping it will magically go away.
Obviously, the problem won’t magically go away.
The first goal was to put a sorting system in place so the mail has a place to go immediately upon entering the house. I had a sample of Peter Walsh’s “Inspired Message Board” system that is part of his You.Organized line for OfficeMax. Peter (or likely his publicist) gave it to me when the line was released, and I had been using the calendar in the other house but not the mail sorting components. Adding in some of the components, I created this to hang on a wall near the entrance to the office:
The second solution is to get a closed storage bin to hide the shredder, recycling bin, and trash can in the office. The bench will live immediately below the mail sorting system. Our current shredder is 18″ tall, so we need a storage bench capable of accommodating it. I’m thinking this is what we’ll use:
The toy chest is the right height and has a thin panel in the back that will be easy to drill through to make a place for the shredder’s power cord. The bench will also work well with a child safety latch, to prevent our toddler and cat from having an accident with the shredder. I don’t love this bench, but I have yet to find something I like more. I’ve made a deal with myself that if I don’t find an alternative by the week’s end, I’ll order the toy chest.
Having a set sorting and processing station will keep junk mail from over-running the house and will make sure everyone in the house finds his mail when he needs it. I’m ready to have mail in just one location and not strewn about the house and car.
What physical system do you have in place to sort mail in your home? Share your solutions in the comments.