Taming the Mailbox Clutter


When I was a kid, one thing I looked forward to most was helping my mom get the mail. The possibility of receiving a letter or package with my name on it was so exciting!

Nowadays, I still get that excited feeling (when a new Amazon box arrives); but, like most of you, my mailbox is equally filled with bills. That might explain my annoyed feeling, but it’s more than just bills. The sheer volume of useless mail is equally bothersome. A plethora of advertisements, coupons, political flyers, credit card applications, donation requests and catalogs I didn’t subscribe to litter my mailbox, car and countertops. A new range of emotions, like frustration and annoyance, have crept into my happy memory.  

So, if you’re annoyed by the task of sorting mail, it can easily seem daunting to start. You might feel obligated to do something with each piece of paper you receive or treat each piece like it’s vitally important. Here are a few steps to begin freeing yourself from the junk mail buildup...

1. To start, put a recycling bin just outside the door you walk in with your mail.  
2. As you walk towards your door from the mailbox, sort out the junk mail. (For me that’s anything that isn’t a bill, family or work related.)  
3. Before walking inside, recycle the items you deemed junk mail. (Bonus Tip: If you want to simplify your mailbox further, stop unwanted product catalogs, magazines and direct mail advertising at https://www.catalogchoice.org/.)
4. Once inside, immediately open all remaining mail. Sort into three piles:  

  • Mail that requires action; bills to pay, checks to cash etc.

  • Mail to be filed immediately; tax items, for example.

  • Mail that can also be recycled immediately; bank notifications regarding holiday hours, for example.

5. Designate your timeline for handling the remaining mail. (I pay bills as needed and file my paperwork in these beautiful desktop file boxes.)

Bonus Tip: If you want to simplify your mailbox further, stop unwanted product catalogs, magazines and direct mail advertising here.


Don’t worry if managing your mail using this system initially gives you an odd sensation, or FOMO (fear-of-missing-out). Start small. Does implementing one step make you feel lighter? Do you get the bill paid and filed faster without it feeling like a burden? Keep taking baby steps… Soon you’ll be free from both the physical and emotional weight of your mail.  


The Author

Mikaela Hicks is a Professional Organizer and Online Coach with Optimal Life Space. By day, she helps people transform their homes, offices, and bodies. When she's not removing clutter, you can find her writing, training for a marathon, working in her flower beds, or spending time with her granddaughter.

PaperMikaela HicksComment