For a while, we let our mail pile up on our kitchen table (view that post here). When we would get tired of pushing them around, we would move the mail piles to the rarely used dining room table. Because 95% of our bills are auto pay and friends and family sends us emails rather than snail mail, we rarely have a need to even look at the mail, so it sits unopened for days.
We had knew we had to get our mail organized, and after months of hearing my wife ask me to make a mail organizer, I finally did it. It was actually one of the most simple projects I have ever done – there was no plan, no cut list, no special kind of wood or paint – everything I did was on the fly with scrap pieces of wood.
Here are the basics of the DIY Mail Organizer Plan and Guide:
- Skill level: Beginner
- Cost: For us, $0. We used wood and paint that we had laying around. If you don’t have scraps, I’d estimate $20.
- Time: A day or two
- Scrap wood – we used 1/4 inch plywood pieces
- Chop saw (any saw would do)
- Staple gun (we have an air powered one, but a hand held one would do as well)
- Chalkboard paint
- Paintbrush and a mini roller (not necessarily required)
Typically we run into some problems (hence the “Modestly” in our site name), but this one was really foolproof, even for us. We didn’t encounter any issues – it was a very simple project and was completed with no issues.
On to what we did.
Step 1: Find Scrap Pieces of Wood and Assemble a Simple Open-Faced Box
We knew that we needed 2 or 3 angled “slots” to hold our letters and mail. We had seen many people use old shutters to organize their letters, so we built this based on that concept. So, first we built a very simple box with the following pieces and the estimated size (again we just used scrap pieces of wood so there was not much measuring here):
- Back piece: 24 inches x 8 inches
- 2 side pieces: 24 inches x 4 inches
- 2 top/bottom pieces: 7.5 inches x 4 inches
We stapled and assembled them together using our staple gun – remember to just create a simple box with an open face.
Step 2: Add the “Slots”
We used the following pieces to assemble the box at an angle (remember that these sizes are estimates):
- 2 front face pieces: 7.5 inches x 4 inches
- 2 bottom pieces: 7.5 inches x 2 inches
We measured down the same distance on each side to ensure proper placement for the slots, and stapled them in place (this took a little eyeballing – there could easily be a better way).
Step 3: Apply the Paint and Let Dry
We actually had some old black spray paint laying around that we used to spray on first before applying the chalkboard paint. The main reason for this was to fill in cracks that we did not think the chalkboard paint would be able to reach before applying the chalkboard paint. Once we did this, we just let it dry overnight.
Step 4: Hang and Write in Chalk!
We hung this up by simply drilling a pilot hole and finishing off with 2 simple 1 1/4 sheetrock screws. Check to make sure you’ll hit a stud first, and if you are not going to, use a drywall anchor screw.
The DIY mail organizer is only holding paper, so it probably does not need to be strong enough for someone to hang off of it, but you do not want it falling on a kid or pet’s head either!
My wife actually has legible handwriting, so she drew a little envelope icon and wrote “mail” using a cursive-ish font. It took a couple tries so there are some chalk remnants from erasing, but we actually liked that “used” look.
Here’s the final photo again. Hope you enjoyed it!