What to do with all this paper?

Managing important documents and piles of paper that show up in the mailbox is going to be a challenge. The bills, receipts, tax documents, account statements, pile up on several horizontal surfaces at home.  The primary approach is to stop the incoming paper by changing as much of this as possible to electronic delivery.

Receipts

We like to keep receipts for mulitple reasons. The primary reason is to reconcile with the credit card statement that everything was processed correctly and there is no unauthorized charges. Receipts for non-durable items can be discarded once checked against the credit card statement. Receipts for items with some type of warranty or other need to for us to file are kept until there is no longer a useful purpose to keep them. Several retailers offer the option to email a receipt and that works great. For these we set up a gmail account specifically for receipts. We are now working to get all the places where we buy things that use email receipts to send them to that address. For those who don’t use electronic receipts we will take a photo of the receipt and send that to the receipt email address for filing.

Mail

Jen and I are investigating and discussing what is the best option for our mail. Do we have our mail sent to a family member or do we sign up for a commercial mail service provider. Jen prefers using a family member and I would like to sign up for a mail service.

The family member would have to be diligent and process the mail timely every day or two. It may get old opening someone else’s mail. The task would be to open the mail, take a photo of it, and send the photo to us. Some mail we would want shipped to use. Then what to do when our family member goes on vacation. That would be mail black out.

Mail service costs vary widely and have mixed reviews from users. They trash the junk mail, scan the envelopes received each day and email that to you, open and scan those that you want to see and read, ship items to you that you want keep and even deposit checks.

We will start with the family member then switch to service once they get tired of the monotony of dealing with it.  So far it is working.  Our daughter sends us photos of our mail.  We ask her to pitch the junk, open and scan things we need to see right away, and keep the rest until we see her.  So far so good.

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