Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stress, Clutter, and the Mail Box Indicator

Twenty-five years ago a real estate agent informed me that my importance to society was is large part gauged by how much mail I received daily, including junk mail. I never bought into this line of reasoning. With email and spam today we are all much more important than we aught to be compared to the the mail flow of the mid 1980's.

Most folks receive a significantly lower volume of snail mail today than in the past. Bills and bank statements are all available online. Access is instant and it saves money for all involved.

What got me thinking about this is that I went three days last week without any mail at all: no bills or junk mail. My utility bill comes via email and I have no credit card or car loans. As a result, advertisers must think I am not a good person to promote to. Or maybe I am not that important anymore.

I cut back on magazine subscriptions and opted for the library instead. It is more than a matter of cost; it is a matter of space and clutter. Over 99% of the magazines I read I read once. Of course, I keep them around just in case. I let the local library handle storage for me now should I ever really need to check out a back issue.

Without magazines or bills the mailbox is empty. Maybe I am unimportant. Maybe nobody cares about me anymore. Or not.

My email still comes in rapid fire. So, I am important after all. Too bad I use a mail service that scrapes (as opposed to skims) all the crap junk mail before it gets to me. Now I am back to unimportant again. And it is by design.

As my mail flow slowed, my clutter declined, and so did my stress. A full mailbox, snail or email, is stress inducing. Reduced clutter increases free time for other more important things you want to do.

You may wish to consider a goal of stress/clutter reduction by paying off debt, thus lowering the mail flow. Do the important things in life. Opening the bills does not rank on this list. Simplify your life and live better. Have fun.

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