Are there any households that don’t have an issue dealing with the mail?
Seriously. Besides the handful of people who’ve created mail systems for Pinterest (and have actually stuck with them), does anyone have a handle on this mail situation?
Well, we’re getting closer.
We’ve actually implemented 2 small changes to help keep our mail organized. If we can keep them up, they should make a big difference.
The first thing we did, several months ago, was create what we call our hopper. It’s a 3-tier plastic storage tray where we separate our opened mail and other incoming paper.
I have 1 tier for non-bills that I want to have ready access to – Miss O’s day care paperwork, insurance info, and this week’s grocery flyer. The 2nd tier is for bills – anything to be paid – and is checked weekly(ish). The top tier is Mr. O’s. He keeps all his stuff in there.
The system worked well, but there was a small problem. You can only put things in the hopper if you can find the mail in the first place.
In our house mail had a tendency to land in any one of dozens of places – the kitchen counter, the console table, the coffee table, the bottom of someone’s bag, the bathroom (eew), and more.
Of course, I hit up Pinterest and found all sorts of colorful, imaginative ways to set up a mail “command center” or repurpose a microwave cabinet for a document organization hub, but what we really needed was one central place to put the mail until we could open and sort it. All of the ideas I found were great, but they were overkill.
Because I’m me, I did a full study of where the new mail drop point could go. I noticed that the most common place that mail (and everything else) was left was the dining room table. The table is what’s right in front of you as you come up the stairs from the garage, so that makes sense.
I thought about getting a table for a bare wall in the living room. I considered using our hutch, where the hopper is. I looked at hanging something on the wall, hiding it in a cabinet, building something… the ideas were flowing!
But when I thought about them, none of those ideas would have helped. In this house it’s out of sight, out of mind. Whatever we used had to be in plain sight at the top of the stairs or it wouldn’t get used.
Finally, the answer presented itself. When looking for something else I came across a decorative basket I’d bought years before. I moved the basket to the small table next to the door and declared it “the place mail goes!”
You see, I had been assuming that since our problem was a major annoyance it would required a major solution.
In fact, the solution was a very simple one. A basket.
What sort of small changes have had an impact on your life? Share in the comments.
On the first Monday of the month I write about small changes that have had a big impact. If you have a suggestion of a small change that you’d like me to write about, or would like to write a guest post about small changes, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.