Friday, July 25, 2008

Paper, Paper, Paper

As I have been trying to get things under control in my house again, I have come to realize how easy it is to have a stack of papers laying around that is STILL waiting for me to go through and either file, put away somewhere, or toss.

I am pretty good at going through the mail and tossing and shredding things, and I also have a spot where I put all of my bills that come in, but there always seems to be some papers that are laying around that I either can't get to at that moment, or I am just not sure what to do with it.

So, I have begun to come up with a few things to help me with this paper clutter:

1. Bills - these are placed in an old day timer - I don't use it as a planner anymore (I have a different calendar for that). When I need to pay my bills, they are organized and all in one place - no problems there.

2. Things to be shredded. We have our shredder in the garage, and so I have a little spot where I place items that need to be shredded if I am not going out to the garage at that particular moment. I just need to be more regular about emptying that spot!

3. File Folders in a box - I forget what this is called (we learned about it at a MIA meeting - maybe my sis will remember...some sort of "kit" I think). I am trying to make better use of this - the folder I currently have include: To File, To Do, Dawson, Me, coupons (Qs) to cut, Qs for photos and Q's for out to eat.

Those are the things that I can think of at the moment.

So, what do I have problems with?

One is magazines. I have such a hard time finding time to read them and then I don't want to toss them b/c I have not read them yet - these are free mags.

Another is - what do I do when the files in my filing cabinet are full - what do I do with those papers? How long do I need to hold on to the stubs of the bills that I have paid? Then if I take it out of the filing cabinet, but need to keep it - where do I put it?

Other things...I may just have to see what all of the other things are?

So, do you have paper clutter? What steps have you taken to get it under control? Do you have any ideas that are tried and true?


Melissa said...

I've gotten much better with the mail since we moved and my office is no longer right next to my front door! The mail would get plopped on the office desk; sometimes never to be seen again.....

Now, I toss junk mail as soon as I get the mail and bills go in a file folder, but magazines are a huge problem for me! I can't bear to throw them away and they are overtaking my house! I'm even getting baby magazines for some strange reason and even though they are so NOT relevant to me I hate to toss them!

I have a burn box for old stuff that I purge once a year from the filing cabinet. I don't think I need to keep as much as I do for as long as I do, but for some reason I have 3-year old bank statements!

Now, here is a question for you....what do you do with Thank You and Birthday cards?

Trish said...

I am by no means an expert. I was keeping everything down to one small file cabinet, but now we have another one that is just autism-related, plus a bunch of binders that are Michael-related.

I will say with the magazines. We have two subscriptions that were gifts. Newsweek comes every week, so I only keep the last two months. Real Simple comes once a month, so I have spot on the bookshelf for them and only keep 12 issues. The Autism Society quarterly all stay permanently.

For thanks you cards, Christmas cards, etc, I have a box that I put them all in and then I go through them once some time has passed. That way I can be more objective about what to save versus throw away.

I promise you, our house is nowhere near organized, but these are two tiny things that help me a bit!

TCC said...

It's called a "Due Kit".

You are supposed to keep documentation (related to tax stuff anyway) for 7 years I believe. I try to clean out my files annually (with some exceptions) and the information that needs to be saved is placed into a cardboard box and labeled with the year. That is then placed into storage on one of the organization shelves in the basement.

Regarding thank-you notes and invitations. If I'm going to scrapbook it then it's filed with that information - otherwise (and I hope this doesn't upset anyone) it's pitched.

My system isn't perfect and I'm always tweaking it a bit but it is soooooooooooooooooo much better than a year ago thanks to the Due Kit!