Simple Steps to Keeping on Top of Your Papers
Do you recognize this scenario of paper overwhelm? Desk and counter tops covered in piles of paper, kept out in the open so that you’ll remember to deal with them, and yet that important document you need right now is nowhere in sight… As a professional organizer, one of the top pains I hear about is paper. Even though we do more and more online each passing year, paper still comes into our lives and homes. Consider the bills and statements delivered to your mailbox, receipts and brochures in your purse, and school forms and completed homework in your kids’ backpacks. Just imagining the volume of incoming paper from these sources can be overwhelming, but a few easy steps done daily will help keep everything under control.
At Less Is More we recommend using a simple system to sort and store paperwork. You’ll need a desktop hanging file holder with about a dozen hanging files, and if you can keep this near your shredder, trash can and recycling bin that’s even better! Let’s get started:
1. Gather those piles of paper that need to be dealt with along with any new items from your mailbox, purse or kids’ backpacks. Check jacket pockets too, receipts love to hide here!
2. Bring everything to your processing center and go through it. Papers you no longer need can be tossed in the trash, put in the recycling bin, or shredded. Always shred anything with personal information such as your Social Security Number or bank account info. Set aside anything important or relevant that you need to keep; those will get sorted in the next step.
3. Use labeled hanging folders in the hanging file holder to keep any papers that require action or that are important or relevant for a period. This allows you to make quick decisions as you sort through your papers and will keep like things together. Helpful categories include To Pay, To Do, Coupons, Receipts, Taxes and Kids. Feel free to customize the labels, but remember to keep it simple! You can only fit so much in these folders and this system is for current and actionable papers, not vital records. Bonus tip: Make your To Pay folder red so you can't miss it!
4. Go through your folders daily! Putting something in the To Do folder isn’t actually getting it done, but rather making it easier for you to remember what you need to do. So take time to review your folders each day – do what needs to be done, pay what needs to be paid, and get rid of anything that is no longer relevant.
Does having your papers in order sound like a routine you would welcome in your home? Let a Less Is More organizing specialist help you set up a system that works for you!