Project 2.1: Mail Station

First things first: I *borrowed* Toni's whole mail station set up from A bowl full of lemons. I just loved it so much and couldn't think of another way to handle my mail situation. Thanks so much for the inspiration Toni! (If you haven't visited her blog, you have to. It's amazing!)

I am calling this Project 2.1 because it's a mini project within the living room. Since I live in an apartment, I do not have a separate dining area for my kitchen table. It's sort of...in the living room? The kitchen is far to small for a table. And I hate to admit this, but we never eat at the kitchen table. We eat on the couch, using the coffee table as our table. It's terrible for our posture and all. *sigh* We used to eat at the kitchen table -- we actually did for the last 3 years. Since we moved into this apartment, we never have. I never really thought about the new habit.


We use the kitchen table as a place to set all of our junk down when we come in the door -- keys, wallet, glasses, sunglasses, mail, books, etc. I had a paper basket on the kitchen table to collect our papers -- receipts, mail, things that needed to be filed, bills, coupons to be clipped, etc. It was always a mess and I always dreaded going through it at the end of the week.



On Wednesday I went to Target to get out of the house for awhile. I wasn't planning on creating this whole mail station until I found this filing kit on clearance for just $2.58 (it was originally $10.39). I decided to buy the mesh filing box too. The filing kit came with 25 hanging folders, 50 manilla folders, and the labels/tabs for the hanging folders.

Okay, so as usual, I was just so excited about the price that I didn't look at the color of the hanging folders I was purchasing. I love the color green, but not this color green. Not really a color I want staring at me every day. It's not that cheery.

I took a quick look in my filing cart and *BOOM* - problem solved. I took the pink/blue/purple/black folders and swapped them for the green folders.

So much better!

I created my own calendars for the rest of the year with Microsoft Word. If you're interested in a copy of my calendars, you can download them as a PDF here (link updated to the new 2012 calendar). I use Sharpie Pens to color code who each event corresponds to.

I needed something to keep my Sharpie Pens in and I remembered that when I cleaned out my closet earlier this week, I kept a frosting tub from all of my recycled containers. I found a scrapbook paper that was just the right size to fit around the frosting tub. It was left over from this sweet creation I made a few months ago -- my beautified clipboard. Now they match!

This is all it took to make the pen cup: ribbon, an empty and clean frosting tub, Mod Podge, a foam brush, and scrapbook paper. It only took 5 minutes for the whole process. I covered the outside of the tub with Mod Podge and then carefully placed the paper on top. I used a gift card to smooth out the wrinkles/bubbles/excess Mod Podge. I let it dry for a minute and then gave the paper an overcoat of Mod Podge. While this was drying, I quickly wrapped some ribbon around the top.


The categories I used were:
  • incoming mail: holds things I don't really care to look over right away when I get the mail
  • outgoing mail: holds things that need to be mailed out, but need attention before mailing
  • to file: items that need to be filed in my filing cart or put away elsewhere
  • bills to pay: self-explanatory
  • receipts: incoming receipts that need to be filed
  • coupons: unclipped coupons (printed and from the newspaper)
  • grocery ads: finally, a place for the grocery ads -- I always find a way to misplace them
  • recipes: I print and clip way too many recipes, so they can sit in this folder until I can take the time to put them where they belong in my recipe binders
  • Tiffany: items for me
  • Chris: items for him

It was too dark where I keep this filing box, so I moved it to get a better picture.

Oh, and look at the finished product of the pen cup! Beautiful!



  2. What a great idea! I think I need to go check out Target on my next town run on Tuesday!

  3. Thanks for all of the comments. It's so nice so be able to share my projects! =]

  4. It looks great! Toni does a wonderful job.
    Thanks for linking it to my Organizing Mission link party.

  5. very pretty! Organizing is more fun when your tools are pretty! :-)

  6. You might have just saved my marriage!! :)
    Incoming mail and forgetting to pay bills is the biggest challenge we face. I'm so distracted by pretty blogs like yours who has time for pesky bills? LOL
    I've tried many systems over the years and none have lasted more than 3 months.
    THIS is exactly what I need. It incorporates the calendar (which a LOVE) plus a place to pre-sort the bills (which I LOVE). We run several home based businesses out of our home from rental homes to a sports club to writing. Keeping everything organized and up to date is a... well... I'll let you fill in the blank. :-)

  7. @Nikki -

    I hope you were able to create a mail system that works for you! Glad I could be of inspiration! =]

  8. Awesome. I like yours much better than mine (and not just for the aesthetics, either.) I shared about mine a long time ago. http://livelearnlove226.blogspot.com/2010/04/getting-rid-of-my-piles.html

    I think if we were to have it out on the counter, it would be better utilized...especially for things like daily mail. Once we get an over the stove microwave, I think I'd like to do this instead of having it horizontal in the cupboard (though out of sight has its advantages, too).

  9. I've been searching and searching for a file box like that!! Sure wish there was a Target in Canada!

  10. Just made myself a mail station! Thanks for the BRILLIANT idea!!! I can see our kitchen table again :)

  11. Thank you for the details about the mail station. I set up one for my mother and one for myself and both look and work great! I had to change a few folders, obviously, to have one for homeschool for my son and one for magazine/newspaper clippings, but overall design is the same.

  12. Christine, I just found pinterest. Any time you see an item that is specifically what you want you can go on-line, sometimes they will do 'ship to local store' for free. Hope you have been successful!

  13. Oh thank you so much for this idea! Our side table is a nightmare! This will be tackled come the end of the week!

  14. This is really great. I also love the portability of your solution. Thanks for sharing and the inspiration.

  15. Love the idea! Just wondering - are you still offering the calendar pdf? The link isn't working for me. Thanks!

  16. Love this! Just found you and I'll be stopping by, sharing this on my blog later today!

  17. Hi, I saw this post on Pinterest and repinned it a while ago and since then I've been looking for a method to recreate it in a way that works for my household. Yesterday I finally did it! You can find what I have done here and, of course, I mention at the top of the post that I was inspired by you and have included a link to here. Thanks so much for sharing this, I think it's going to make life a lot easier.

  18. Found this last night via pinterest and went to Target today. Thanks! Finally all my piles of papers in the kitchen have a home:)

  19. Love this! Made me realize that I can easily implement organizational ideas from work (as an admin asst) into my home life...duh! Question: what do u use the clipboard for? I have one & it needs a purpose...& a makeover! :)


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