After my rocky start with day 2 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life Challenge, I am happy to report that day 3 has actually exceeded my expectations.
The goals for day 3 are to create a functional mail-wrangling system. This system is essentially two parts. The first part is physical and entails creating a mail station with a place to put important mail and a practical way to discard junk mail. It also involves unsubscribing from paper catalogs to decrease the amount of mail coming in.
The second part is more time-management and schedule based. It involves designating a specific time to process mail, pay bills, and file documents. With both of these components in place, I should be able to keep the mail pile to a minimum.
Before I get on with the photos, I have to make a disclaimer. Our "mail center" is also where my husband studies, so my end goal was to make him an office/desk space as well.
Here are the before photos:
Office chaos! This craziness is a combination of mail, school books, magazines, office supplies, random manuals, games, and a coffee pot we rarely use.
Dingo Before. She is very skeptical that I will be able to create order out of that chaos.
One quick dash through Staples and Target later, and Ta-da! Order, fabulous order. I didn't think to take a "haul" photo, so I'll just list what was purchased (everything I got from Staples was from the Martha Stewart Home Office line and was on clearance.)
Staples: 4 Brown 12"X10 1/4" Shagreen Pockets ($2 each), 3 Brown Small Stack + Fit Shagreen Boxes ($0.90 each), 2 Brown Stack + Fit Shagreen Pencil Cups ($2 each), and 1 Brown Stack + Fit Shagreen Tray ($1.40).
Target: 12 Gold and Silver Foiled Nate Berkus File Folders ($5.99)...this was totally a splurge item, because who really needs foiled file folders? My justification points are: A) they are gender-neutral, so nice for the husband's space B) they are soooo pretty! To note, I did have to trim 1/2" off of one side of each folder to fit them in the pockets.
Total Damage: $22.09. To be honest, I think you could create this same set up for little to nothing if you spent a little time getting your craft on. Mason jars would make adorable pencil-holders and I've seen some amazing card-board transformations on Pinterest. However, since time is what I am short on, I went the lazy route.
Here are the after photos:
The Shagreen Pockets hold 6 files labeled: Cait, Nate, Action, Bill, Shred, File.
The little basket I've had for years and it holds envelopes, stamps, and checkbooks. The pencils are in an old candle jar and the Shagreen Pencil Cup holds pens.
The green magazine holders are from Target a long time ago. Magazines are on the left and books on the right. The Shagreen Tray in front holds office supplies, scissors, etc.
Dingo After. My organizing has exhausted her.
I think catalogs are my number one paper clutter nemesis. I have already cancelled one catalog and will cancel others as they arrive. I actually receive mail in the office I work in, so I usually discard junk mail before it enters the house, but catalogs have been my weakness. I am very optimistic about the new mail/office space and look forward to putting it into action.
What do you think is the biggest contributor to paper clutter in your home?