Last year, I took on a paper organizing project. I needed to sort through a large number of old papers and files and decide what to keep and what I could shred and recycle. The items that I kept also required a system that would work, so they were easily accessible when we needed them.
Paperwork seems to pile up until we have the time to take care of it. No matter what you do to contain it; it’s still there. There are several things that you can do before the paper piles become overwhelming.
Sorting and Purging
Sorting paperwork can be overwhelming and time-consuming. You should manage mail and papers as soon as they enter your home. You need to determine what you need to keep, what you need to look at another time, and what you can recycle. We sort mail over the recycling bin or shred it if it’s needed. If you take the time up front and make it part of your routine, you don’t have to make the time later. The result is worth the effort of not having to sort through a large paper pile all at once.
In a previous post, I wrote about editing your mailbox. I included how you can minimize the junk mail and catalogs that come to your home. Reducing the paper items that come into your home can help you with keeping up with all your paperwork.
My desk includes a file drawer and instead of using it for storage, I use it for the files that I access most frequently. Most of these items are papers that are not essential, but that I have to keep to access when I need them. The files also contain booklets that are too bulky to include in the binders that I use.
Some of the items that you should keep for a period are legal documents, tax returns, mortgage records, automobile titles and records, insurance records, home improvement records, your will and power of attorney records, and retirement information and records.
Binders are a great way to keep frequently accessed papers organized. In another post, I talked about using them to keep your paperwork organized. Just recently, I arranged my medical paperwork so everything is in one 3-ring notebook that I can easily carry with me to appointments. As long as you have adequate storage space, using binders is an efficient way to store your essential documents.
My hubby has set up our bills, so we only get paperless statements via email. Setting this up has gone a long way to reducing the paper clutter that we have in our home.
You can scan and keep other paperwork items online, as well. Dropbox is one way that you can store your documents. Personally, the only records that I store online are ones that I need to access frequently. Even when I’m away from home, I can obtain them and share them with others.
Put paperwork in its place by filing items, using binders or going paperless to keep things under control. Taking the time to sort through papers that come into your home will save you from having to make the time later.
Until next time,