Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Create a beautiful mail station

Jessi Bushman PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

September is my favorite month of the year for many reasons.

As autumn weather breezes in, I fall into a new organizing outlook.

Let me count the ways organization enhances beauty and function within our home.

1. A well-maintained space tends to make us smile; the most beautiful and authentic way to acknowledge and display; we like what we see.

2. A tidy and welcoming space is the easiest way to boost our mood.

3. The visual satisfaction we feel when storage solutions are consistent and clearly identified.

4. The ability to find what we need quickly based on storage methods. This includes organizing paper alphabetically or numerically, and possessions by color, size and quantity.

I’ll elaborate on mail, as paper proves to be a huge obstacle and contributes to excessive and unmanageable clutter for many.

What is clutter exactly? Everyone has a different opinion.

My view of clutter includes loose papers, unused materials and overlooked and under-utilized items.

If clutter has purpose, but not used regularly, a long-term storage solution should be established. Removing clutter allows our eyes to easily scan our space to pinpoint what we need quickly and efficiently.

How do we create a beautiful and organized mail station?

Start by clearing surfaces and closed storage to eliminate items not related to paper.

A clean slate will allow us to incorporate style and function with new, specific items or by simply re-purposing what we already have.

Every organizer will tell you: There are countless ways to create a beautiful mail station.

For many, our overall goal is to reduce paper clutter to make finding what we need effortless.

Here’s how to start:

• Evaluate household members’ steps and habits to identify drop zones in the home.

• If you already have a mail station, acknowledge the location and function likely could improve based on your drop zone evaluation.

• Process mail daily or several times per week.

• Utilize bins, hanging file folders, stacking shelves or multi-pocket spiral notebooks to meet your specific needs and storage availability.

• Sort mail before processing to save time in the long run. A quick scan of mail encourages us to discard the junk. Designate a recycle or shred location nearby.

• If you have a spouse, work together and clarify what papers are where and establish a true understanding of your family’s mail and important documents.

• If you live alone, establish a connection with someone you trust in regards to your important documents. This could include arranging a time to meet with legal counsel.

• Dedicate time to review your mail and documents on an annual basis. This practice also encourages us to maintain a tax file, allowing that time of the year to come and go easily.

• Follow tax guidelines and dispose of old returns past the seven and 10 year timeline.

Simple observations and assessment of our movements can inspire us to evaluate additional habits and routines. This is a wonderful time to request a fresh set of eyes of a friend or non-resident, allowing us to identify challenges and create solutions.

Remember, create files, not piles.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer, member of the Iowa Professional Organizers Association and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at

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