Controlling Paper

As a professional organizer, I have found that one of the biggest organizational challenges for people is dealing with paper. Mail, bills, magazines, school work, and newspapers overwhelm us on a daily basis. If we don’t to set up an effective paper processing system in our home and office we will end up with piles of paper.

The two most important parts of paper organization is learning to sort and having a designated place for everything.

Think about your current system (if you have one). Do you have a specific place for bills? Where do you put your magazines and newspapers? How do you pass on information to your family? What do you do with your mail after opening it?

First, gather a few basic items – a pen, a few file folders and a basket or some type of containers. Also, a small, portable file box is perfect for processing paperwork at home.

Label one file for each person in your home. Then label additional files: “Do”, “Pay”, “Consider”, “Hold”, and “File”. The basket or container will hold reading materials. It’s really that simple.

As you sort through your current paper piles or open your mail, follow these tips.

– Place bills in the “Pay” file. * Put all reading materials (catalogs, letters, magazines, etc.) in your reading basket or container.

–  Place anything that needs to be done in the “Do” file.

– Filing (letters that have been read, bills that have been paid, important documents) belongs in the “File” file.

– Use the “Consider” file for items you want to review and will consider doing or buying.

–  The “Hold” file is for tickets to upcoming events, information for which you are awaiting an answer and paperwork you will need in the future.

If you have mail or paperwork for your spouse to review or deal with, place it in the “Spouse” file. Depending on the ages of your children, their files can either be used in the same way as the spouse file or they can simply place their school papers in them for you to review.

You can tweak this system to meet your needs. Just remember to have a place for every piece of paper that enters your home. You will be happy of knowing that you are finally in control of your paperwork.

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