Five people live in this house. That’s five times the amount of paper a single person sees in one day.
That means I have to organize my way through bills, business items, personal correspondence and all the paper it takes to make one’s way through middle school and high school. It can be a lot to handle.
I consider myself a fairly organized person, but before I created a system for my house there were tears over lost homework, stress over client invoices and the embarrassment of a late RSVP. It’s hard to keep track of it all!
Here’s the secret: The key to any good system is simplicity.
If a system of organization is too complicated, there’s no way I will stick with it for the long haul.
I chose a few simple rules to follow and not only has my paper clutter gone away, but I know exactly where to find the specific piece of paper I’m looking for.
3 Simple Rules for Organizing Paper Piles
- Create a category for each type of paper that will come into the house. The categories I use are (a) bills and personal correspondence (b) business-related papers (c) homework and (d) parent-related school papers. Each category has a home.
- Create a specific place for each category of paper. My bills and personal correspondence go in a hanging file above our parked phone station. My business-related papers go in a file inside my desk. These will be sorted later when it’s tax time or filed in individual folders in my desk. All the children have folders that allow them to file and organize their homework, so all homework papers go in their folders, which then go inside their backpack. Lastly, I created a drawer for parent-related school papers. This might be a permission slip I need to sign or something I need to refer back to later.
- Create a deadline each day for you to put the papers in the specific place. For me, the time is evening. After dinner is cleaned up, I start organizing and ‘closing up shop.’ I like to wake up to a de-cluttered home, so I will go through the day’s mail, the receipts in my wallet and the children will make sure all their papers are either filed in their backpack for the next day or any papers I need to see from school are put in my special drawer. If everything has a ‘home’ it makes clean-up and organization a non-stressful task that’s easy to manage every day.
Take a few hours, to adapt these three simple rules to your life-style and you’ll notice how 5 minutes every day will make the mountains of paperwork be a thing of the past.
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