My roommate and I share a mailbox. She rarely checks it. I check it two or three times a week, which I don’t mind doing. I set her stack of mail on the kitchen counter, but days later, it’s still there, untouched. Would it be OK for me to start recycling her mail if she doesn’t open it within five days? I dislike clutter, and I don’t think it’s my responsibility to remind her about it. —ROOMMATE
I am sympathetic with your roommate’s disinterest in her paper mail: Nearly all payments, bills, periodicals, and interesting correspondence come to me electronically these days. And throwing away her mail without discussing the issue first seems aggressive. My advice: Put her mail in her bedroom. Or if you want to keep setting it on the kitchen counter, ask her nicely not to leave it in your shared space for long. I suspect you will do better with the first approach, though; people have varying tolerance for clutter.
—Adapted from “Social Q’s” in The New York Times Magazine