I have raved about this before, but I think it’s worth formalizing it in a dedicated post.
The issue was forced when I moved to Romania for three months: what am I going to do about my pesky mail? I’d hate the idea of missing checks, or important correspondence, and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I missed a single ad! So I needed a way to check my mail from ideally anywhere in the world.
A simple Google search found me mailboxforwarding.com, a pretty cool service that will let you set up an address, and they scan/process your mail for you, basically turning that offensive paper stuff from the 1800's into email format. From their site:
We provide you with a unique street address box number where you can have all your mail sent. When a new piece of mail arrives, our staff automatically scan the front of the envelope. You can then manage your mail through an online control panel, and can request that we open and scan the contents, shred and recycle the item, or forward-ship it to your home or business address.
Pretty cool right? I really like the feature where I can have them deposit a check (for a small fee) right into my bank account. Another great thing is the satisfying “Shred” button, asking them to destroy the worldly item while its contents live on in digital form.
I pay around $20 a month for this service which includes some extra scanning and forwarding fees. It’s perhaps more expensive then a PO box, but the accessibility is worth it, in my opinion. I also like the idea of keeping my mailing address and where I live separate and secure.
Here are the steps I follow to manage my Snail Mail given this system:
- Any email from them is auto-tagged with “Mail” in gmail and appears in a separate folder. This lets me know if I have a new message or that a scan is complete.
- I can then check my account manually and do one of the following:
- It’s Junk - Shred it and delete the image, maybe make a note to tell the company to stop sending me trash.
- It’s Interesting - Click Scan to have them scan the internals.
- It’s Clearly Important - Click Forward to send to my physical address.
- Once the items are scanned, there are a few more decisions to make:
- Worth Saving? - Then I download the PDF and put it in the right place in Evernote.
- A Check! - Mark it to be deposited in my bank account!
- Not that interesting after all - Shred it and archive the image.
That’s pretty much it, this leaves me with an empty inbox, and mailbox, allowing me to save any important documents for future reference while saving me time updating mailing addresses whenever I move.
It Would Be Cool If…
I think this company is offering a great service, but obviously I have a laundry list of improvements. If they happen to read this post, then I’d love if they would consider these:
- Allow for saving of default bank account info - My bank isn't in their default list, so I have to enter it each time. Saving it and pressing “Deposit to default bank” would save time.
- Email the scans with the notifications - this could improve workflow streamlining and save time.
- Integrate with Evernote - This could be a simple linking of the application and letting me save the note with a button, or more robust integration into their app store “Trunk”.
I hope this has inspired you to optimize your Snail Mail!