With Tax Day around the corner, we are all tasked with collecting paperwork from our financial, medical, work and personal lives. This is a great opportunity to address all of the paper clutter that we have in our homes. Paper is constantly entering our homes in the form of mail, work documents, notes and lists for future projects. If you have children, there is also school work and children’s art.
Organizing paper as it comes into your home by creating a filing system will help to decrease the amount of paper in your home, and help you to be able to find documents when you need them.
Creating a system for paper entering into your home.
1. Open all mail and address all other paper communications. Sort through what is trash, what items you need to take action on, what you need to file and what is reading or resource material.
2. Put items that are reading material, move them to where you will read them and file everything else.
3. Keep a recycle bin near your front door or at your mail station. Recycle what you do not need.
4. Have a location or file for action items. This can take many forms and may take a few adjustments before you find a system that works for you. A Take Action Station can be a message board, calendar, or any visual solution that draws your attention. A Take Action folder is also an option.
5. It is important to schedule time with yourself to take action on these items. This can be daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the urgency of the items.
Create a filing system that works for you.
1. Separate all documents into categories & be as specific as possible.
2. Make sure you cover all areas (finances, home, medical, pets, work, kids, etc).
3. Big categories like “finances” can have their own sub folders for tax returns and bills.
4. Stock up on file folders and break out your label maker.
Creating a system to deal with paper as it comes into the home as well as a storage system for it will significantly cut down on the amount of paper that lives in your home.