Our digital world has dramatically reduced the amount of paper that goes into our homes. While it has become easier to manage, there are some things that just don’t escape us. Organizing paper is one of the most challenging things to keep organized.
Our daughter started preschool this year and holy moly, the amount of art and paper she comes home with was overwhelming. Realizing this wasn’t going away anytime soon, we had to make adjustments.
For starters, all art projects come into the house. Depending on the art project, we’ll decide if we keep it or throw it away. I will admit at first, I couldn’t throw anything away, she made it. I was so proud but realized if I kept every single art project, we were going to have a major problem.
She comes home with at least 2-3 a day. We also learned when throwing away her art projects, not to do it in front of her 😉 She would keep every single one if she had a choice.
Kids papers are just a small portion of what paper we still deal with. Setting up a paper system will help manage what you keep and what you can throw away.
Here are some tips for organizing paper
Open up mail in the same place every day
Mail is something that isn’t going away anytime soon. When you get your mail and bring it inside, put it in the same place. If you aren’t able to open it immediately, you’ll know where to find it and prevent anything from getting lost.
Try to get mail at the same time every day. Establishing this routine will help make it easier to manage. Also, when you are getting the mail, try to get it when you are not distracted meaning if you’ve just got home from the grocery store put all of the groceries away first.
There have been too many times where I was trying to save time by getting the mail while being in the middle of something else. I would end up putting the mail somewhere else and then not be able to find it. I wasted more time looking for it versus doing it right the first time.
Use a filing system or letter sorter
Once you’ve opened mail, decide if you will file it or throw it away. Use file trays or a letter organizer and label them Bills or To File. Each week, store the papers accordingly that you need to file in a filing cabinet.
Make it a goal to touch paper once.
If you receive magazines in the mail, create a space in your home where they all go. For us, it’s in our command center. The magazine immediately goes into the section for magazines even if we haven’t read it yet.
Automate any bills
Set up paperless billing for any bills that you might have. You can even take it a step further to auto-withdrawal from your checking account to save you time and money.
Most of our bills are set-up on paperless billing, I do still print out the main page when I get the email because we go through them all when we do our budget. It’s easier to manage with a printed copy in front of us.
An easy way to help manage your e-bills is to keep them marked as unread. This becomes a reminder that the bills need to be paid. It’s easy to open the email and not look at it again and then realize you forgot to pay it.
Is it essential or necessary?
Ask yourself this question when trying to figure out if you need to keep it. There are important documents you do need to keep such as:
- Tax Returns
- Mortgage Information
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
- Social Security Information
- Car Titles
- Student Loans
- Bank Information
- Medical Records
Unsubscribe from junk mail
Chances are you usually throw the junk mail in the garbage. Make your life easier and step it a step further by removing yourself from direct mailings. It’s less paper that comes into your house. You can do it here
Organizing paper can be challenging but when you establish a good system, it’s much easier to manage. Use an area in your home that you can dedicate to your mail and know you will use it every day.
What is your favorite tip when it comes to managing paper in your house?