Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make it Work Wednesday: Ways to simplify a chaotic home

I personally feel that the number 1 way to junk up your house, cause undue stress, and create an overwhelming pile of crap to deal with, comes from not having a proper mail-handling system.  Mail can come from the little box at the end of your driveway, or from your kids' backpacks.  Either way, it needs to be dealt with, and FAST.  It's a far bigger issue then just creating clutter when it's not attended to in a timely manner.  Improperly sorted mail leads to unpaid bills, lost documents, and really embarrassed kids when Mommy loses the field trip permission slip...  Not Cool.

So Here's what you do:
~Don't put it down unless you're putting it in its proper place.  Your mail doesn't just float into your house on its own.  You carry it there in your hot little hand, or you painstakingly dig it out of the rocks and dirt at the bottom of your son's joke.  So don't just put it down, put it where it belongs.
~Make a place where it all belongs.  For example, in my home, bills get opened pronto, the statement is tacked to the bulletin board in the kitchen, and the envelope and other fluff that comes with it is recycled.  There's a box on the counter for "Deal with it" stuff (the things that need to be taken care of because you're a grown-up, but maybe don't need to be addressed right that second) like the permission slip for an event at my kid's school that's not urgent because he's on vacation.  We also put the newspaper in there that shows up weekly whether we want it to or not.  When it's read, or if it's still sitting there when the next week's one gets here, it goes in the recycle bin or the wood stove, depending on the time of year.  The junk gets our address ripped off, and it gets thrown straight into the recycle bin.  At least if they're going to send all that wasted paper around, I can send it back somewhere that can make a coffee cup out of it (hopefully).
~Have a file cabinet somewhere in your house.  Your "file cabinet" can be a shoe box for all I care, but it should be a place where you can keep documents needed to file your taxes, that giant folder of paperwork you got from the dealership when you bought your car, the even bigger one you got from the bank when you bought your house (OK, maybe a shoe box won't cut it here), important medical records (not essential to keep track of every time you have a hangnail or the hick-ups, but a good idea to save things from major events like surgeries, broken bones, etc.), and a place where you keep the manuals for major appliances, tools, and anything else that's cheaper to repair then it is to replace.  Seriously, saving the manual for our vacuum cleaner saved us several hundred dollars.  We figured out that we could fix the whole "broken" vacuum with a $7 part.

The following pics are found images of great mail-sorting ideas...
Source: A window shutter re-purposed.

Source:  (these are magazine boxes, turned sideways, and screwed to the bottom of the shelf).  Genius.  
Source:  I like stuff that looks modern and vintage at the same time...

That's it.  No more hits on your credit score because of late payments on lost bills, no more forgotten field trip slips, no more piled up papers to sort through.  Get home, sort, file, done.  Now, go do it!

Postcard image found on The French Factrice.  Unknown original origin.  Mail pile image from Johnny Miller on Martha's site.

Thanks for stopping by,

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