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 Since starting the whole-home decluttering course several years ago, I have had so many people emailing me and sending amazing before & after photos!   One area that seemed to be a big problem area before the course was paper clutter:  Mail, stacks of paper, receipts, etc…
declutter my mail - 3 tips to STOP the clutter!

Here are my tips for cutting down on paperwork:


When I was little, I watched my mom open our mail right next to the garbage can.  I watched her throw things away without even opening them.  Once I was older, she told me how this little tip saved her time and frustration later.

Now that I am the one getting our mail, I do the same thing.
When I get the mail, I either walk inside to our recycling bin or I go straight to our outdoor recycling bin.  I take care of it right then and there.

  •  Junk mail gets tossed.
  • Important mail gets saved.
  • Nothing goes on the counter “for later”
  • Nothing gets set aside
  • There are no paper piles
  • I do not keep things to “deal with later” (which brings us to #2)


This is my Mom’s rule and it is a great one!  When you are finished sorting through your mail and you are left with only the important thingsimmediately do something with it.

  • If it is a bill… pay it, or write the check & get it ready to send, or .schedule it to send online.  
  • If it is an invitation… write the on the calendar and then tape the invitation to that month on the calendar.
  • If it is a letter… respond & send it. 
  • If it is a card, display it then toss it (or save it in a storage box if you keep cards)


Read them daily.   Use those “down times” to quickly scan and delete.  I delete while I am waiting in line somewhere or when I have a few minutes to spare.   I try to just quickly go through and delete junk emails.

My brother has a great e-mail rule:  NEVER open an e-mail unless you have the time to respond right then & there!

Now that I follow this rule, I make it a point to only respond when I am at home and have the time.  If I check it when I am out, I know that I won’t be able to respond on my phone (it takes too long to type on there for the length of e-mails that I typically send), so I wait and do it later.

If you found these 3 tips to be encouraging, you can join us in the decluttering challenge  It is a course that will walk you through your house as we do a deep dive into clutter.

We will declutter, clean, and organize the home!  Your home will feel fresh, spacious, and calming.

ps- it is a digital course & book, so don’t worry about any more paper clutter! haha!!

With this being said, it is so important to really try to control your clutter.  If you would rather just purchase the book, Freed From Clutter, you are welcome to do that, too!  (If you start the course- it is included). 

PS- you can download my free room-by-room cleaning printable here.
daily cleaning list print here

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Hi Becky, I’m stopping in from Lets Connect. Great rules to follow. I’m going to start with the mail one!

  2. Hi Becky,

    I do feel overwhelmed by clutter, constantly saying, I dont want to get rid of this toy because what if the kids need it? Like you said they really dont need alot of the stuff they have. I don’t think I could cut back as much as you did down to three toys each. But I am going to take the next three days and start clearing out! Thank you so much for your inspiration!

    1. I kept more than 3 each (the family on Oprah did that – I mentioned that in my series, although I wish I could do that!) 🙂 but I cut back to around 10-20 a child (still so many) and they seriously hardly use those! They are more into playing superheros & things like that. 🙂

      Let me know how it goes! 🙂 Good luck, Samantha!

  3. I’ve read many tips on decluttering and have tried several without much success. I guess to begin any new program you need to be committed to what you endeavor to do. I tend to organize my clutter without realizing what I’m doing and thinking how wonderfully everything is organized. When I showed my husband my accomplishment and asked what he thought, his reply was, “No one can organize clutter as beautifully as you can”. I wasn’t sure how to deal with his response because I knew he was right. I was recently diagnosed with MS and I am trying desperately to finish painting and decorating my home before I’m no longer able to move as freely. I know that this is a wake up call to simplify my home and life. I appreciate the simple straightforward steps you outline here. I’m going to give it a shot and I’ll let you know how it works out.

    1. Keep me posted, Heidi! Good luck. I will be praying for you, with the MS, too. My Aunt has that and it is really hard, I know.

    2. I have a friend who has MS & I am also dealing with a nerve health issue also, so my heart is going out to you. If it is possible, I would like to recommend the book ‘The Cure’ by Dr. Timothy Brantley, what is helping some of my symptoms (chronic & extreme body pain, etc) is trying to go raw as much as possible & the right supplements. (Still the essentials always, sleep/rest, nutrition, whatever exercise i can, etc) I know everyone’s body is different, even so I hope this information helps you & your health. Wishing you a full recovery & much peace in your mind, body, spirit

  4. Great ideas that I have never heard of before. I am going to start implementing these.

  5. My hubby and I were just talking this morning about how we just can’t keep up! I’m so glad I came across your series! I’m starting the declutting process tonight!!! I did feel pretty good about myself when i watched an episode of hoarders last night. YIKES!!!! Thanks again for your series!

    1. haha! I know! Good luck!! Come back & let me know how it goes. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the article I am going to have to start the process to declutter my house one room at a time.

  7. Love your website thank you. I have an idea to share with you for all of the emails.
    If you get too many junk emails
    1. set aside time to look at each one and unsubscribe the first in the list if you don’t want it any more then delete
    2. Any you like but don’t want to get them all the time, set an auto system that the email goes straight to the delete folder of your emails
    3 Any emails that you want but don’t want to look at everytime you get them, create a folder and direct those emails direct to that folder to look at when you have time
    4. Each email that then goes into the inbox is dealt with straight away, deleted or moved to a folder to save for later

    Donna 🙂

  8. But I’m AFRAID!! Afraid of what…I don’t enen know! I’m an organized clutter-keeper and I can relate so much to so much of what you say. My intentions and motivation are in high gear until I actually open a drawer, bin or door then “IT” becomes so overwhelming that I close whatever I opened and beat myself up for being such a failure. Recently someone told me to “take off that old coat you’re wearing and put on a new one!” That really hit home, and your article is the first one on un-cluttering since then and it might be the one to help me unclutter my life.
    Here I go…wish me luck!!


  9. Hi Becky. My future literally depends on me learning how to declutter my home. For financial reasons I need to take in a lady border to assist me. After 25 years plus in my townhouse I have accumulated a lot. To make matters worse, my clutter is not organised. Being single there has been no one to pull rank on me or to even encourage me or keep me accountable. I have now increased my paper clutter by printing out your suggestions. If I do not do this I will forget what I have read. I am 64 years old and I do find my memory is not as good as it use to be.
    Please pray that I will be successful in applying what you have so kindly shared.
    God bless.
    Frances from Sunny South Africa

  10. You have some really great ideas for de-cluttering!

    I would add one more tip – please recycle whenever possible! =) Instead of taking your mail to the trash can to open, take it to your recycling bin. Almost all of your junk mail can be recycled, as well as many other things you might be throwing away instead of donating.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  11. I finally figured out why my effort to declutter my mail is failing. (1) my recycle center doesn’t take glossy paper, and I don’t open and separate the junk mail. (2) when I do sort out the glossy stuff, I am stuck with a bunch that has personal information, which I feel I need to shred. I have been through 3 shredders in record time, which it getting to be too expensive. I live in a rural area, and had my son start burning these unwanted papers, which don’t burn well, and that was abandoned too. Any suggestions?

    1. My husband is a shredder, too. If it were up to him, he would shred every single paper with our address on it.
      My tip: don’t do it. I only shred things with our credit card info on it. I usually don’t even open anything other than bills or cards.
      🙂 Good luck

      1. Thanks for the suggestions on decluttering paper and emails!

        Question though… When you only shred your credit card info, aren’t you worried about someone stealing your identity based on your address? How easy is it to sign up for a new credit card from those “pre-approved” card offers? I’m pretty worried about that.

    2. A trash collection company in a larger town 40 miles from my home takes boxes of stuff & shreds it. I can’t remember the cost they quoted, but it was cheap. Most big shredders take whole files, bank statements, etc., without having to remove fasteners, paper clips, etc. You should check with a larger trash company. It saves the horrendous amount of TIME it takes to shred 2-3 papers at a time, not to mention saves the home shredder.

  12. This is so essential! I have a pile of mail just begging me to go through it! We have a mail holder in our home and it’s become a catch all for everything. Every month something goes forgotten! I’m definitely going to start doing this everyday when I grab the mail! Thanks for the tips.