How de-cluttering our mail helped us to pay off close to $1,000 in two months, Save Money, and Give us a Peace of Mind
We had a system; a great little system that kept all our mails in one small folder. It was my husband’s from college, but it was organized according to the alphabet system. With this system, I knew exactly where to find any piece of mail I needed. Then we moved, got rid of the folder that was not falling into pieces, and things went downhill ever since.
All daily incoming mail was now placed in a small brown basket where they would eventually be looked over. When the basket was filled the mail would be tossed into a huge storage bin. Then the process would start all over again. Needless to say, our mail became a pile of clutter that no one wanted to attack.
To make matters worse, due to life events and nursing home transfers and so forth, all my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-laws mail were now being delivered to our home and included in the clutter. Mail was now everywhere in unwanted spots, such as on the dinning table, bookshelf, and in other areas of the home.
As a homemaker, I had expressed my distaste to the family about the clutter of mail that seemed to be piling higher and higher. I even devised a plan to keep the in-laws mail in a separate bin since they were not reading them. That way all their mail could be in one area. And if there came a time when they could get their mail, the entire bin could be delivered to them. They could sort it out because I have no idea what is what in their mail.
In addition, I had expressed that junk mail should be tossed immediately to avoid the clutter.
Albeit, we did not follow these plans and so I got discouraged and just did nothing else to solve the clutter.
Despite this situation, I had an even bigger issue hanging over my head. I knew there were some bills to be paid that was drowned in the mess. I had contemplated for months upon months how and where to start. You see, cleaning and organizing the mail is not my favorite chore but I knew it had to be done. The debt continue to hang over my head. . . and the clutter kept pilling higher and higher.
A few months ago, I decided to take control, take some time to organize the mail, and tame that clutter. Especially after reading Crystal Paine’s book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. She discussed how to take control of our finances and survive other areas in our lives by taking baby steps and I wanted to do just that. The key is to set small goals and stick with them. But there was no way our family could get ahead if all our bills were thrown somewhere in a clutter of mail. So after reading the book, I wanted to make a change. I wanted to pay off debt. I wanted to stop living in survival mode with this mail situation (if so to speak). I became motivated and got to work.
It took me about two days to clear the clutter, but it was two days well worth it! I dumped everything on the floor and got to work. Whatever were in bins, baskets, on the bookshelf, dinning table, etc. everything went on the floor!
I sat and cried and cried as I overlooked this large pile of mail and as I sorted and organized each piece of mail. I though of quitting during the process. It was a dreaded task and I did not want to do it! And as I thought of the plan to keep the in-laws mail separate which we did not follow. Why was I the one to sit down and sort all the mail, I asked myself? I could not help but cry. And how could I ever get this down with a baby and a toddler running around and needing my attention? But I kept thinking of the benefits our family would gain from the de-cluttering and so, kept on going. Thankfully, the kids did well!
By the way, when I was done sorting, this entire bag was the in-laws alone.
Despite my silly emotions over organizing the mail, I was so thrilled when it was over. I organized every piece of mail I could find in different categories. When it came to our bills (and they were mostly doctor’s bills that we had to pay after our insurance covered their part), I organized them in one bin according to dollar amount. So I placed the largest bill at the bottom and worked my way up to the smallest. Dave Ramsey recommends that the smallest debt be paid off first.
- I found a $20 bill in the clutter
- Expired Khols cash $50 worth – gone down the drain! I had searched high and low for this during Christmas time, only to find them in the clutter.
- A subway card with at least $10 and some other gift card.
- And this was the pile that got thrown away after I shredded the important stuff that needed to be shredded. Two tall large bags of nonsense mails (I mean, catalogues, spammy mails, old sales paper, you name it!
So was I happy I read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode? A big fat YES! Was I happy I broke down and organized our mail – YES!
Here are the benefits our family were able to enjoy after the de-cluttering process:
- Less clutter: this is what our mail boiled down too after I got rid of all the junk and un-necessaries. I intend to get a better and more permanent filing type system like the one we had before (at the opening of this post).
- About a day or two after within organizing, I started calling around to take care of the bills, both old and new. We paid off close to $1,000 within two months of de-cluttering (My goal was to pay off $1,000 by the end of the year), but the goal was met within 2 months. We continue to pay off the rest and hope to have them fully paid off soon.
- I realized that we owed less than I originally thought. It rounded up to just under $2,000 instead of the $5,000 I thought we had owed
- Some of the debt that were hanging over my head had already being paid (had the mail being de-cluttered earlier, I would have known that)
- All our coupons and store cash $$$ are in one place and easy to find when needed (no more expired and wasted money)
- We have a peace of mind because we know where all our mail is and we know what bills we need to take care off as soon as they enter our home (No more wondering where things are)
I know this post was long but I felt that there was no way to make it much shorter. Hopefully, I did not bore you too much. Are there still times when our mail tend to end up in unwanted spots? Oh yes, but they are no longer tossed into a big storage bin like before. They will be organized and put where they belong. Hubby got in on the plan and helps out when he can.
Do you struggle with mail clutter? What is your family’s system for keeping the clutter down? Or does de-cluttering your mail help you save money?