The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 5, 2012

Corral that holiday clutter before it consumes the house

Just as I was beginning to feel caught up on paperwork after Thanksgiving, the mail dropped through the slot in my front door. The enormous thud actually made me groan. In December, the constant stream of catalogues, bills, invitations, solicitations from charitable organizations, holiday cards and packages is relentless, leaving even the most organized among us wondering what to do with it all.

The key to making it through the month without feeling like you're buried in paper is to take time to "process" your mail each day. Here are some tips for how to manage almost everything your mail carrier delivers.

Catalogues

Even though we all receive fewer catalogues than in the past, the stacks still pile up daily in December. Take a quick look at each day's arrivals. Recycle as many as possible and set aside only those that you know you will look through. Many people are nostalgic about holiday catalogues and find them difficult to discard, but try not to get too attached. Many retailers send almost the same catalogue each week, and you can always find what you need online. To reduce the flow of catalogues in the New Year, go to www.catalogchoice.org to opt out of mailings from specific retailers or simply call the number on the back of each publication and ask them to stop sending to your home.

Holiday cards

Cards are definitely the most fun thing to open this time of year, but they also pile up quickly. After you admire your cousin's new baby, make note of the return address and recycle the envelope. All of the cards should be kept in one place. You can hang them or place them in a basket, but don't leave them scattered throughout the house.

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