Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Keep Paperwork Organized

We all have a lot of paper that comes in to our homes through our mailboxes, or brought in from school, work, etc. Here are some ways to reduce the clutter that is inevitable with too much paper.

  • Designate an area of your home, even if it's only a drawer, for filing business papers, bills, letters, and coupons.
  • Have a specific day or make a certain time each day to file away items.
  • Set up a filing system for your important papers and receipts. This can be as simple as an accordion file or a file cabinet that can do double duty as an end table.
  • Use a "Miscellaneous" file for items that don't easily fit into a category, but be sure to go through this file when it fills up.
  • Mail should be kept in one location of your house.
  • Junk mail should be trashed/recycled immediately.
  • Open up and file everything at least once a week.
  • If you can't file papers on a regular basis, use a folder labeled "To File" to temporarily store items.
  • Coupons can be kept in a file folder to be clipped for that week's grocery shopping. You can even keep this in a 3 ring binder, with clear slots to hold the coupons. Keep a clear, zippered pouch to hold scissors when you are ready to cut the coupons.
  • Birthday cards, invitations, and thank you cards can quickly overwhelm your place, keep the ones that really mean something special to you and throw out the others.
  • Put photographs in a frame, in an album, located on a site such as Snapfish, or in a box with clear pockets to view similar pictures sorted by date. If you don't have the time to put pictures in an album but you like this idea, go to Snapfish or another digital picture storage site and pay to have certain pictures put in an album by them; it will save you the hassle and you will feel organized without doing too much effort.

Children's Items

  • For permission slips and other school documents that need to be looked at, keep in a bin so that they do not get overlooked.
  • For children's paperwork (art work, etc.) that you plan on keeping, put in a box labeled for that child specifically.
  • If you have the room, set up a filing cabinet for your children's report cards, tests, book reports, etc. Some of these items may come in handy for later grades.
  • For younger children’s artwork and papers, put up select items on a bulletin or cork board in a common area. They can then be sorted each week in to piles of what to keep and to throw away. Currently, I keep practically all my children's work in separate bins labeled so I know which grades they were in at the time that art and homework were created.
  • If keeping paper art projects is not feasible, why not take a picture of them and compile it into a framed art project for your walls? If you are in to scrap booking, use a page to embrace their work.

Home Office

  • If you have a home business, the Neat system is a great way to eliminate paper. You can use this to store your paper digitally and retrieve whenever needed.

Enjoy your week!!


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