Papers they are one of the things that present such a great challenge since paper comes in almost on a daily basis. Mail means flyers, newspapers, magazines, bills, letters, statements and sometimes cards. Then if you have children they bring home papers. Artwork, notes from teachers, schedules, and reports. When you go shopping there is the receipts, owners manuals and coupons. Then there are the work papers it never ends.
But how to deal with it?? How to organize it?? What to keep what to toss? What a nightmare!!
Let’s start with mail.
Deal with Mail immediately. Toss junk. Shred sensitive trash, file.
Put a trashcan or recycle receptacle by the door. Throw away junk immediately.
Do not lay down mail. Repeat after me: Do not lay the mail down. One more time. DO NOT PUT THAT DOWN.
Seriously consider online banking and online bill pay. Eliminate paper coming into the house.
OK so now it is in the house. What?
Touch Paper one time.
Open it, toss the envelope, file it away.
Keep it simple
Set up simple categories.
I recommend adding your bills to a spreadsheet and listed ALL your bills. They should be sorted by due date (actually listing them 2-3 days prior to the actual “due date” to allow time in case you got busy, or it was the weekend and you forgot! Thus, nothing would be late!). Then set them up with Bill/Creditor. If you have a few things that are automatic drafts, I recommend highlighting them in a specific color such as blue. Utilities such as electricity, or gas, basically core household bills, highlighted in light yellow. Anything due quarterly or annually should be marked as such under “end date” and highlighted that field only in purple! Anytime something is closed or finished you can move it to the bottom of the page and mark it as such. I suggest you never delete it in case you need the info later! (Such as for taxes) Under “Specials” you can add notes such as “No interest 6 months, ENDS March 2018”; or what every note you need such a contract end dates on your phone service.
Now that you have added your bill to the spreadsheet you need to file them away. You have to set up a system that works for your household. Remember Keep it Simple.
House, car, insurance, money, health, school, taxes (whatever works for your house)
For example in your money file you c have a sub file for banking, retirement, investments. For your house file, you can have sub file for maintenance, warranties, improvements, tax statements and insurance file. Or you could have your insurance file with sub files for Car A, Car B, House, Health, Life. You are getting the idea.
Now that you have determined what categories you need its time to decide what you are going to put them.
If file folders or pockets don’t work for you try Project cases or document cases.
Papers can’t fall out, no hole punch or pockets, everything stays flat. You can store them upright on a bookcase or shelf, or you can put them in a file drawer. You can further organize them by adding folders inside the cases.
Flat bottom pocket files and binder clips. Put labels on the binder clips.
Or try magazine holders. Label them and just drop in your paperwork. You just have to find a shelf to hold them.
Do you keep receipts? How about using a receipt receptacle? Like a glass canister, box or drawer?
You could use a plastic drawer unit and dedicate 1 drawer to receipts and the rest could be your files. One for each house, car, insurance, money, health, school, or whatever you need.
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Remember whatever you do remember to keep it simple, deal with it one time, and do not put the paper down. Touch it one time. You can control your paper clutter and be organized.
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