Thursday, January 22, 2009

Challenge #2: Paper Clutter

I have found a way to decrease my paper clutter..therefore decreasing my stress in the office area (not eliminating it...the office is a continual area of struggle for me).

I found myself a little file folder holder. Its a stiff cardboard holder, and its cute (that part isnt necessary) with pink and brown polka dots. It hold 9 file holders, a pad of paper and some note cards.

I have it sitting on my kitchen counter, but its easy to put away when I want things more decluttered. It stays in my kitchen, because that is where I bring my mail in from the mailbox.

My paper clutter makes it hard to find stuff I need when I need it, whether I remember I need it or not :) I found a bill a couple of months ago, AFTER it was past due that I hadnt even remember getting. It was time to organize.

In my file folder holder I have labeled the file folders: Current Bills, Important Stuff, Current Projects, Paid Bills, Mommy and Me, Pending Business, Receipts and Finances.

I have found that all my mail can fit into one of these categories or can be thrown away. Its easy to clean out and keep straight.

I like also, because during the times of the month when its time to pay bills or balance my checkbook or budget, I have all the information I need quickly. Also, I like having "important" pieces of info available quickly. I put our trip itinerary last fall, our W2's this month, and some other stuff that I want to keep up with there.

I also like the "Pending Business" file. It has stuff that I need to hold on to because its not ready for the big file cabinet where I keep my permanent files. It helps me keep track of what I need to keep working on, looking into, etc.

So, your #2 challenge for the year ...find a way to organize your paper!

Some tips may be to have your paper organizing system where you "unpack" your mail, shred what you dont need, go through your paper stash often ..the more you let it build up, the more overwhelming it is. Use a cork board or magnetic board to keep things that need attention soon or you dont want to lose. Have a more permanent filing system that you can put those paid bills, old billing statements, bank statments..etc. Its a good idea to keep those types of things for 7 years for IRS purposes...might as well keep them organized for all that time :)

Got better ideas or some suggestions that have worked for you? Share!

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