Monday, March 7, 2011

How I Keep Track of My Mail

Such a fitting title, no? I bet you all can guess what I am going to talking about in this post. Corrine (check out her blog) commented on my previous post asking how I keep track of my mail. Well, rather than expound on that thought in comment..I decided to create an entire post dedicated to it.

I keep track of my mail in a very simple way. I have boxes that I sort everything into. So..I decided to take a few pictures to show you my filing system. =) Oh and all of these boxes were either given to me by my Aunt, or I found them in the dollar isles at Target a few weeks back.

I do not have an outgoing box...I simply pile up the letters/postcards/art in a neat pile by my door that way I see it on my way out. I do however, have an incoming box. This where I store everything that needs to be responded to. I open it up, read it and then place it in here until I have time to work on the response.

As you can tell from the photo, this box (which was really clean and empty yesterday) is now starting to accumulate again. Here's hoping to stay on top of it!

Once I have responded to my mail it gets sorted among a series of boxes.

This first box is where all penpal letters go once I have written back. As you can see (or maybe not) there are letters here from multiple countries and states. This box gets added to at least once every two or so weeks.

Another box that I add to with some sense of frequency is the one above. This is the box where all the mail I get from correctional facilities goes. Unfortunately, my address has been nipped off a penpal site and added to some sites that are geared towards inmates. While I think its terrible that my address has been added to a list such as that and even though I never respond to the letters, I cannot bring myself to simply toss them aside.

If you could read the little tag on this box, you would see that this is where all of my soldier letters go. The soldiers who write back (two of them at the current moment) send letters pretty infrequently. Matthew sends me emails on a regular basis which is nice of him, and Bonnie is recently engaged!

This sort of ugly yellow box is where all the lovely mail art that people send me go once I have responded to it. I really need to find a good way of displaying these pieces are they all so lovely!

This box here is probably the one that sees the most action of them all. This is where my postcards go. And note, while it seems as though there are a lot there...I have about 100 others that arent in that box (they are in a binder). Looks as though I will need another box soon, no?

The final box I would like to share with you is where my projects go that I am working on. These could be things that have a destination (such as a specific person who has written) OR it could be those things I work on with intent to send when the mood strikes. If you have gotten something from probably spent a little time in this box at one point or another.

And that pretty much sums up how I file things. To finish answering Corrine's question, I do not really keep a register. Though, I have been thinking it might be a good idea. Just this past week I had a bit of an issue. Two different "Terri"s sent me postcards. One is a really cool lady I met at work, and the other is a nice lady who has been a postcard penpal for about 6 months. Luckily I could distinguish the handwriting well enough to tell them apart. This caused me to think that perhaps I should create a registry to help me keep track of what I have sent to whom. So...anyone with any suggestions on this matter PLEASE leave me a comment or email me and let me know how you do it!

One final picture. I have a passion for tattooing. I am owner to a few myself, though you would never know that unless I wanted you to (they are easy to cover up). And because I have this passion, along with the passion to decorate envelopes I decided that it would be awesome to "tattoo" some envelopes. The picture below is a few different envelopes I have tatted. =) Perhaps you'll even see one up close and personal.

Well, folks...I feel as though I have typed FAR too much today. I hope everyone is having a good day! And thanks as always for taking the time to read my rambles.


  1. Thanks for the clear description. I like the box idea too. That way I can move mail around and know what I have to respond to - hence the IN box. I am working on an idea for displaying post cards and maybe some other pieces, but I think post cards will be easiest to do by themselves. When I finish it, I will share. xox Corrine (Have you thought of a mail wall in your house? A revolving mail wall maybe with cork?

  2. I would love to see your idea when you are finished with it! I have thought about a mail wall. Mainly because it seems like (especially with the art and postcards) I get so many that I will look at for a while and then tuck away to not be seen for some time. I also thought about hanging some up near my desk (I have a tendency of hanging random things on the walls by my desk). I think hanging it here would give me a lot of inspiration.

    So perhaps in the coming weeks I will get a mail wall going. It would be fun to update it and post pictures! I am also glad you enjoyed the post. The box idea works really well for me. I haven't (that I know of...) ever "lost" any mail that needed to be sent. Cheers!

  3. Okay, I'm now experiencing some serious mail envy from seeing all of your boxes filled with mail goodness!!

  4. You know, it's pretty easy to get people to mail you things. You just gotta mail some yourself. It is highly rewarding! So stop drooling over my mail...and get some of your own! haha (I like to encourage good hobbies)

  5. Ohhh oooh. I saw my card in the good mailart box. I'm so proud. My system here is lacking seriously. I had folders for everyone but I don't like filing. Now I am starting to photocopy what I send out (I use recycled paper) and attach it to the incoming piece.

  6. I have only been a Postcrossing member for a month but, upon receiving my first postcard, I designated a bulletin board in my kitchen as our "real wall". Each time I receive a postcard, it is added to the board so that the entire family can enjoy the many lovely postal gifts sent from around the world!

  7. This was great fun to read and look at! I still need to perfect a system.

  8. Catwrangler: That seems like a pretty good idea! I have thought about photographing or scanning what I send out and then filing it (electronically) in folders for everyone. That way I remember what I have sent..and especially with letters what I have told you. haha. Maybe I will get serious about that system one day.

    Karen: Postcrossing is amazing! I have been having a blast sending out the postcards. I think tonight when I get home I will start a "real wall" most likely made from a bulletin board. And post all my mail there to take pictures each week.

    Felicity: I am glad you found this post interesting. I never can tell if it will be interesting to anyone but I am always happy when others enjoy it.

  9. I don't know how I missed the tat envelopes at the bottom. Me likey.

  10. Now that's a lot of mail! What fun!!! Food for thought on what to do with my mail...

  11. Those tatted envelopes are gorgeous!
    (I got your letter, and I've written back, but not posted it yet. Soon, though!)

  12. Wow! That is a bunch of mail!! My system is pretty simple: I have a sewn back composition notebook that I keep all my addresses in. I started with the back page and work towards the front with the addresses. Then starting at the front and working back I write down every letter I send or receive-date, then whether it was sent or received, name, a short description of the mail so that I know what I got or what I sent(to avoid repeats on things like artistamps or other added goodies). When the received/sent list meets the address list then it is time for a new notebook.I keep this in a vintage wooden shaker spice box on my art desk with any mail that needs to be responded to. Once the letter is answered I put them in a file box to be gone through and enjoyed until I run out of room and then they go to a permanent storage box, dated and stored away.
    Another mailart friend of mine has a unique way of keeping record, I'll send you a copy so you can enjoy it first hand! See you in the mail! Elle