For those of you who have been involved in the 30 Day Clean Home Challenge, you are doing a wonderful job decluttering and getting organized! I have loved all of the pictures you are posting in our Clean and Organized in 30 Days Facebook group. One of the repeated questions from this week has been HOW TO ORGANIZE PAPERS.
And I understand why this questions on how to organize papers has been asked so much because paper clutter is a big problem in many homes.
But the good news is that your paper problems are about to be gone because this is the most effective way I have encountered on how to organize papers!
What You Will Need:
- File Folders (I LOVE the Bright Colored ones)
- A Portable File Box or Expanding File Folder
- A Label Maker (I personally love this brand)
How to Organize Papers with a Short & Long Term Filing System
Okay, here’s what you need to do: Figure out where you can store short-term and long-term file folders. Many people have a long-term file system in place (where you keep taxes, birth certificates, etc.), but here’s why you need a SHORT-Term filing system:
1.) To keep paper flow at a minimum
2.) to manage papers with more frequent use
3.) To help with mail clutter
4.) To keep your sanity
My longer-term filing system is in my basement. This resulted in a lot of paper clutter in my home, because often I wouldn’t have the time to walk all the way downstairs to file something. This resulted in…..the kitchen counter getting cluttered, and sometimes important papers getting lost!
How to organize Papers: The Mail
Here is my routine for checking the mail:
1.) grab the mail from the mail box and walk straight to the outside garbage can. Dump all junk mail, coupons and papers inside
2.) Upon walking inside, sort mail before doing ANYTHING ELSE (this only takes a minute).
3.) Sort into 4 categories: Take action, Shred, “to file”, and Coupons. Most coupons get thrown away, but if there’s one I’m 100% sure I will use, it goes in the coupons file. If there is a bill or something that needs to be taken care of soon, it goes in the “take action” file. If there is a bank statement or something with my account number on it, it goes into the “shred” file. If it is an auto-insurance policy or a tax paper, it goes into my “to file” folder, which will later be placed in my long-term filing system in the basement office.
*I also like to keep a file folder for my husband in case a piece of mail comes for him that I don’t know what to do with.
*Remember to go through your mail folders at the end of each week
How to Organize Papers: Kids School Papers
In my short-term filing system, I also have a file folder for each of my kids. This is where important school papers and calendars will go. If the paper involves something that needs to happen within a few days, it can also be filed in the “take action” folder
How to Organize Papers: Other miscellaneous papers
I also keep file folders for each month of the year: Jan-Dec. Do you host a family reunion every year in June? This is where your planning papers for that reunion will go. Do you have special Christmas traditions or gift assignments? You will store these papers under “December.”
You will also create any other files needed for your family’s short-term needs. Maybe you have a “family night file”, or a family council planning sheet. Adjust your files according to your family’s needs.
That’s it for now! What’s your best ways for how to organize papers?
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