File This! Paper Clutter
Imagine this: papers are strewn all over your house - maybe some in files, but most not so. And then you need to locate a really important document and have no idea where on earth it can be. Loan papers, tax papers, account information, anything it may be. How do we solve this?
Do we just pile everything up and then once a month go through all of the papers we have been piling up?
Make a system now. Moving forward - when these papers come in, we put them away - immediately!
How do we begin? First, find your pile of papers and send aside some time to sort. And space! Your space can be a table or your floor - whichever works best for you.
Next - make 4 piles to sort and you'll begin to sort as follows:
- Anything that needs action taken, i.e. pay the bill, update info, send RSVP, etc.
- Reference (historical documents)
- Anything that we need to keep, but there is no action taken. It could be a copy of your insurance, registration confirmations, auto bill pay statements, etc.
- No personal information, just junk mail or papers that will go right into the trash.
- Anything that has personal information or your address listed that is not needed.
Our first 2 piles can be more separated later, but lets focus on lessening the load first.
How did that go?
You hopefully now have a much smaller pile of papers to take care of.
You will want to keep your action pile in a place where you pay your bills; maybe thats a desk or a dedicated spot in the kitchen. There are a few different ways to sort your action papers. You can separate into a file system by topic - bills, due this month, invitations, etc. Or you can have one folder or file that houses these items as a general "TO DO."
Be careful with this. This is an important file as it will save you in the long run to not have missed bills or late charges. If you keep one file - you have to REMEMBER its there. Start checking it everyday or once a week. And check it at a point in your day when you have time to take action.
Now, your reference pile. Decide where you want to keep this; I prefer either a file drawer or a file container. Now its the fun part: organizing!
You most likely have a variety of papers: car info, credit cards, tax documents, loan documents, insurance, etc. Sort all of your historical documents into the sensical piles. And then file and label each file! You can use colors to sort, alphabetize, importance, etc. There are many options. This won't be a file area that you will necessarily use on a day to day basis, but you want to know whats there, and find it in the simplest way possible for when you do need something.
Now, file it!