10.07.2008

Fourth Thing Organized People Do..........


Fourth...They don't allow papers to pile up. Papers to file are filed each day, not left to grow into mountains. Mail is opened over the recycle container so papers not needed don't even have a chance to multiply. Kids permission slips are signed right away and sent back to school with the kids. Bills are tucked into a bill paying system until bill paying day, and paid bill statements are filed away that day. Magazines are read within a week or two and then recycled or donated.

It may sound difficult, but if you start now with the incoming mail, it'll become a habit over time.

There are helpful things you can do to stop unwanted mail from arriving to your mailbox. I have listed links to websites on the right of my blog to help you stop unwanted mail, i.e, catalogues, credit card offers, advertisements, etc.... . It is a good idea to stop the credit card offers from coming to your mailbox to help prevent identity theft. If you want a new credit card you can always go online and request one through your favorite bank.

After I have thrown all the recyclable papers in the recycle bin, I have two piles to bring into the house, 1) To Be Shredded 2) To Be Filed.

I shred the papers and put the "to be filed" in a drawer that I have designated as a holding place before filing. You don't always have time to file right then and there. My holding place is above the drawer that I have my files in. This holding place keeps the clutter down and out of sight. Every few days I go through the paper pile and file the papers, add bills to my automatic bill payer, and file my receipts from the week.

Another source of paper clutter is your children's school papers, handouts that you've collected, fliers, etc... If I have a paper that needs to be filled out and signed for my child, I fill it out and sign it. If I don't have time right then, I keep a clip board on my kitchen counter to place papers that I need to get to and then I can pick up that clip board and take it with me. This allows me to have a hard surface to write on when I'm sitting at an appointment or soccer practice and I try to clear off the clipboard before evenings' end. It's also handy if you're watching tv, to place on your lap to fill out the paperwork.

After I have filled out important papers, I file them. I keep a filing box with a file folder for each family member, in a handy place above my phone in the kitchen cabinet. If I receive a notice of a field trip that is coming up in the following month, I sign it, send it back to school and write the date on my calendar or Outlook and file it in the corresponding child's file. Later when I have a question about the field trip, I can pull the paper out of my file and get the information I need. Also, as I go through the file, while talking on the phone, a good use of time for little projects like this, I can recycle that out of date field trip paper.

My time is precious to me and so the magazines I read are very limited. I think I subscribe to one magazine that I love to get monthly, "Real Simple". I read the magazine and if there is an item that I find interesting or a recipe, I dog ear the page. When I have finished the magazine, I go back to the dog eared page and tear that portion out. I usually do this later, after a week or so has passed, then I can have another try at the importance of the item I'm wanting to save. For example, if it's a website to look at, I put that website address on my clipboard and next time I'm at the computer I can look up the website. If the website has too much information to take a quick look, I usually tag it under "my favorites" under a category "To Be Read" and save it for later. If I save a recipe, I put it on my clipboard and try to incorporate it into my weekly meal planning. If I haven't used the recipe in a few weeks, I convince myself that I may never use it and if I need to I can find it on the web.

I keep a 1" binder near with 8" x 11 1/2" page protectors divided into different categories, i.e. home improvement ideas, decorating ideas, kids activities, etc... I take the dog eared page and slip it into the proper category's page protector. Every few months when I have a spare minute I go through the binder and do a clean out. I usually date the page so I know how long I've had it sitting in my binder. That is a big help when deciding if you really need to keep it any longer.
I fI receive a catalogue and I see an item that I think I may want to order, I tear that page out and put it on my clipboard. It usually stays on the clipboard for a few days so I can decide if I really need that item, or if I was just thinking I would look like the model in the catalogue if I purchased that item. Or if I'm near the store I can take the photo and show the saleslady and she can lead me to it. I try it on and it usually ends up looking better on the model than on me. Ha! Money saved!

So take a deep breath and just think of one thing you can change in your routine to help clear the paper clutter. Remember, I've been doing this for a long time and it does take time and practice. But there's no better time than now to make one little change.

Good luck, I know you can do it!

1 comment:

Marilyn Bohn said...

How great to see your blog and web site. It is beautiful!
Great tips on organizing and I like that you said it is hard work, when I read organize in 3 minutes or less--or some crazy. I think what a disservice that is to people who really believe it.
Even if it is hard work it is better than the alternative, and it is worth it plus it doesn't stay hard.
(Did that make sense)?