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Cutting through the Paper Clutter

Vickie Dellaquila - June 12, 2017 10:53 AM

One of the first questions I ask my clients when they call on my services is if they are actively bringing anything into their home.  Sometimes they aren’t, but the mailman is!

It’s easy for the mail to pile up, especially for seniors who still primarily receive paper bills, catalogs, etc.  As caregivers, you may have had to take on the job of handling your loved ones’ bills and sorting through their mail. 

Here are some tips for cutting through the paper clutter:

•    Cut down on junk mail by asking companies not to send mail and catalogs.  The Mail Preference Service assists consumers in decreasing the national non-profit or commercial mail they receive at home. Visit for more information.

•    Sort your mail immediately. Keep a trash can handy and throw out unwanted mail as soon as it comes in.  Don’t let things pile up to read “someday.”  If you don’t get through the March Readers Digest by the time April’s issue arrives, put the old issue in the recycle bin.

•    If your loved one lives in a community or apartment building, consider sharing newspapers and magazines by leaving them in a common area for everyone to read.

•    Older adults often encourage more mail by responding to sweepstakes and contests. Telephone solicitations might also result in additional mailings.  It is okay to hang up on unwanted solicitors.  This may also eliminate sales from telemarketers who prey on the kindness of older adults and sell them unwanted and unneeded items.

•    To cut down on telemarketers, join the National Do Not Call Registry:

•    Some seniors ask their adult children to handle their finances and bills.  To keep important bills and paperwork organized, make one well-marked accordion folder to keep everything together. Then a trusted relative or friend can come by once a month to review the papers and pay bills.

•    Keep things like stock certificates and important legal documents in a bank safety deposit box.

Vickie Dellaquila is Western Pennsylvania’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and owner of Organization Rules® Inc. Organization Rules provides compassionate organizing services for every stage of your life®. She is the author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move. Please visit

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