Skip to main content

How to use a letter opener the right way

Opening envelopes by hand is an annoying task. It’s time-consuming and not efficient. It’s also easy to find yourself ripping out part of the letter inside. This problem only gets worse if you receive a lot of mail — especially if you’re responsible for a big office mailroom. It’s also a problem that has been with us for a long time. People may have forgotten about it, but there is a simple solution. It’s one of the simplest of office supplies. A letter opener.

What is a letter opener?

Traditionally, a letter opener was a type of knife used to open envelopes quickly. Today, you can find them in many different styles and materials, and with blunt or sharp edges. There are even electric letter openers. Those are useful for large mail rooms with high volumes of incoming mail. The two most common varieties are the straight blade and the recessed blade. Straight blades tend to deliver cleaner cuts and look more traditional. Recessed blades are usually faster and safer to use. Choosing the best letter opener depends on your style and needs.

letter opener
Paket/Shutterstock

How to use a letter opener

Letter openers are really intuitive and easy to use. This is especially true if you’re using a hand-held one, meaning not a mechanical opener. Opening one envelope at a time, first place the envelope on a flat surface. It’s best to set the envelope so the knife will move away from your body. This will help you avoid injuries. Insert the blade into the top flap or crease of the envelope. Then, simply slide the letter opener from one side to the other. Again, it’s best to move in a direction that leads the knife away from you. For extra safety, make sure to hold the envelope firmly against the table with the other hand. 

Using a straight-blade letter opener for this is quick and efficient. Make sure the weight and handle are comfortable for you. And consider a blunt edge for even more safety. This is probably the best method for a home office that doesn’t take in a lot of mail.

For most recessed-blade letter openers, this process is even simpler. Since there is less chance of injury with this design, you can work a bit faster. You will enter the knifed-edge of the opener into the flap or crease, then slide to open. The concealed blade protects your fingers, so you have less to worry about. Just make sure you get an opener with a sharp and durable blade. It’s a little harder to gauge the quality of these openers compared to the straight-blade ones. Also, make sure the material is comfortable to hold, especially if you will need to open a lot of mail every day.  

Mechanical letter openers

We love the classic look of a straight-blade letter opener. But if you need to open a lot of incoming mail, nothing beats an automated letter opener. Some models are designed to handle up to 40,000 pieces of mail per hour. And they can handle almost any envelope size. A big difference is that electric letter openers can handle stacks of envelopes quickly. This means you can do other things while the machine works on the mail. If your office needs such a machine, just make sure it has a rubber, or nonslip, bottom for added safety. 

Letter openers are great whether you just need to open a few incoming invoices or have 200 pieces of mail a day. They also make great gifts. Some letter openers are so well-designed they will look like art pieces on your desk. That’s not something you hear about office supplies every day. 

Editors' Recommendations

How to remove a rivet
how to remove a rivet

A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener made up of a head on one end and a cylindrical stem on another, which is called the tail. The tail has the appearance of a metal pin. Typically, a rivet is used to hold two pieces of metal together, but it can be used for other things, as well. Regardless of what you use it for, once it is installed, it is nearly impossible to remove. This piece of hardware is much more permanent than a nail or screw, and it will require a little more effort to remove.
If you have the right tools and tips, though, you can be a rivet-removal expert. It will make any rivet-related mistakes easy to fix.
Tools you’ll need
Center punch. A center punch is a tool with a pointed end that is used to make an indentation in an object. It is the first tool used that allows for the drill to be able to enter the object without the risk of slipping.
Hammer. Any sized hammer will do, as long as it is big enough to drive the center punch down into the rivet.
Drill. Make sure your drill is fully charged and ready for rivet-removing.
1/8-inch drill bit. This size drill bit typically fits the center punch indentation perfectly. It is small enough to fit and large enough to keep a tight hold. 

How to take out rivets
Start by inspecting the rivet head. Some rivets have heads with indentations, while others are smooth on top. If your rivet head is smooth, you will need your center punch. If your rivet already has an indentation, you can move onto the next step. Use the center punch and your hammer to drive a hole into the smooth rivet head. Place the tail of the center punch directly in the center of the rivet head and strike it with your hammer. It will create a small indentation that is the right size for your drill.

Read more
How to organize nails, screws, nuts, and bolts

Everyone has that jar or kitchen drawer filled with nails, screws, and everything in between. Trying to organize all those tiny pieces can be a huge hassle. It can feel impossible and pointless. Finding the perfect organization techniques can make your home improvements so much easier. You can spend less time trying to find the right nut or bolt and more time on your projects. 
Use recycled containers
You can use nearly any firm, plastic container with a sealable top for organizing nails, screws, nuts, and bolts. Bubble gum containers are one option for this. You can organize your hardware by type, size, or color. It also helps to label each container so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Buy a hardware and craft cabinet
Another great option is to purchase a cabinet for this specific purpose. Amazon has some great options for hardware cabinets. They are made of hard plastic, so they are light and durable. They have multiple compartments with varying sizes, which makes it perfect for keeping small pieces organized. You can also label each drawer, so you know where everything is located. 
Use clear, plastic trays
You can also buy some clear, plastic trays on multiple websites. They have little compartments and are perfect for people who have a smaller number of pieces to organize. These little trays can easily fit in your kitchen drawers or wherever else you need them.
Utilize an old tackle box
If you have an old tackle box lying around, you can use it for organizing your nuts and bolts, as well. Tackle boxes are made for organizing fishing equipment and can be the perfect solution for organizing your smaller hardware pieces. Tackle boxes are great because they have handles and can be perfect for transportation. If you need to bring your small hardware pieces to work sites, then a tackle box can be a cheap solution.

Read more
Best 3D Printer Filaments of 2024
Happy cheerful nice woman standing at the table and smiling while being in a great mood

A great 3D printout starts with the right filament. Choose a weak filament, and your printout will not be as expected. The best 3D printer filament in 2024 should be made from quality material, while also ensuring compatibility with the printer that you will be using it with. This helps you get better 3D printouts that serve a more appropriate purpose.
What is the Top 3D Printer Filament Worth Considering in 2024
3DFilaments 3D Printer Filament - Best Overall

Print out some amazingly detailed 3D figures with 3D printer filament from 3DFilaments. This printer filament is engineered for precision and performance, as it can give you incredibly accurate and smooth 3D items compared to other brands. Offering premium quality materials, this brand creates filament that is durable and long-lasting, so your 3D creations will look amazing for years to come. The 1.75mm filament is bubble-free, clog-free, and tangle-free with no warping to ensure consistent feed through the printer for a smooth, beautiful print finish.

Read more