Cutting Out Mail Clutter

The easiest way to cut down on the clutter mail can cause is to keep less of it from making its way into your home. Not only does this mean less junk for you to sort through, it means less thrown out as trash or energy spent recycling it so you’ll be helping the environment too. A few ideas:

  • Pay bills online whenever possible (most companies have this option, just check your paper statements or head to the company’s website), then opt for paperless statements
  • Check out CatalogChoice.org to opt out of receiving catalogs, junk mail and phone books
  • Stop receiving credit card and insurance offers by opting out at optoutprescreen.com

Once you get your mail to consist of magazines, catalogs, and letters you do want, you’ll want to store it someplace where you can access it without it taking up a lot of space. My favorite method is with wall organizers, which are super easy to install and can typically live in an inconspicuous spot in your entryway, kitchen, or office. The ones pictured here are from Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn.

A Google search for “wall file holder” will give you a ton of options, including some that are much cheaper, albeit not quite as easy on the eyes. One option is to buy a few cheap, mesh metal versions from an office supply store, spraypaint them white or as close to your wall color as possible so they blend in, and hang a few in a vertical line. This idea works nicely for households where each person needs their own bin.

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Picture Frame Necklace Holders

I think there’s an unwritten law that when two necklaces are left alone in a box, they will get hopelessly, inexplicably tangled up with each other. A way to avoid this is by hanging them up, which offers the added benefits of serving as pretty wall decor, and as a reminder of the cool stuff you own that might otherwise go forgotten when not in plain sight.

The easiest way to do this is by finding a cheap, wooden picture frame that has hanging hardware on the back of it. Paint the frame if you’d like, then either hammer in a row of small nails or attach small screws (you can find these fairly easily in hardware stores or Home Depot) along the top edge. Make sure you remove the glass from the frame when you’re hammering in the nails so you don’t break it, then replace and add a picture, or trace the size of the opening and add a sheet of construction paper in a color you like.

Color-Coded Bookshelves

This may not be the first time you’ve heard about color-coding your bookshelves, but it seemed like a natural place to start since it’s one of the first things people notice about my living room. Organizing your books by color is an easy way to make a cluttered space look more artistic, and lends some order to what’s often a chaotic mix of color (I also organized my DVDs this way, before getting an entertainment stand with drawers to hide ’em in).

You don’t have to put everything in rainbow order (and how many of us have purple books?), but consider doing groups of beige and brown with reds and oranges, blues and greens together, and grays and blacks.

My favorite bookshelves right now are the Expedit ones from IKEA. They have a modern look that goes with most decor, and you can get a variety of coordinating storage bins that fit the shelf space.