Taming your Paperwork

Organizing your paperwork is the most important organizing task in your home you should tackle. You should have a system that is super easy to use and one that works for your own personal organizing style.

So here we go.

Day Three: Let’s make a plan to get your paperwork in order! Today you will spend 5 minutes taking a look at your paperwork and coming up with a plan for a long term filing system. Decide what system will work for you and make a list of the tools you will need to purchase to put your system in place. That’s it! Today is only about the plan for your paperwork, you can tackle the organizing part another day!

Here are a few examples of easy ways to organize your paperwork based on different organizing styles.

Accordion file folders or a filing cabinet.  Label a folder or tab for each of your separate bills and paperwork that come into your home on a regular basis such as hydro bill, credit cards etc. If you own a business or you and your spouse have separate financial paperwork, have separate filing systems. Buy one accordion file folder for home and one for business or one for each family member.  If you use a filing cabinet, buy coloured hanging folders.  Use one colour for combined family bills and different colours for each family members personal paperwork.  This type of organizing system is a fairly easy to use and works best for people who like things organized alphabetically and will take the extra time to file logically.

If you are a piler and do not use traditional filing systems you need to come up with a system that you will actually use. I recommend pretty photo boxes or other office boxes with lids that match your decor and can be stacked on your desk or a bookshelf, or even on your kitchen counter.  With this system you would buy one box for personal, one for financial and one for monthly bills (or whatever works for you).  Simply lift the lid and throw the papers in.  It is simple and is not anymore work then throwing them in a pile!  By having three or four separate boxes you are doing simple sorting that will make finding the paper you need easier and keep your home looking neat and tidy. If you need your bank statement from four months ago, simply open the financial box and take a look. Yes, you will have to sort through other papers, but they will be in chronological order because you place them on top of each other with the latest month on the top of the pile.  If you have paperwork coming in for multiple family members, have one box for each family member as well. This method works best for people who struggle with piles of papers or people who tend to put paper in cupboards, drawers or on just about every surface.  This method is easy to use and, with properly labeled boxes, works for visual people who suffer from “out of sight, out of mind”.

So, decide on a system and make a list of what tools you need and how many you will have to purchase.  If you decide to use a traditional filing system, decide how many file folders you will need or how many accordion file folders you will need to buy.  If you are going with photo boxes, plan how many you will need and purchase only that amount.  Perhaps one for your personal finances, one for your husbands and one for combined family bills. If you have children you may want one for each child to hold school notes, schedules and sports information.

If your paperwork is already in order, take the five minutes to organize a few files on your computer!