Melissa Smallwood is a professional organizer, mother of three boys, mommy blogger, and the owner of the informational website, Organized Life by Design. You can catch up with her on Twitter @multitaskingme.
What Do I Do With All the Paper?
I get asked this question all the time by readers and clients. Even with all the technological advances in the world I don’t think our society will ever truly be paperless.
In fact, the recent technological advances seem to have created more paper to deal with in many cases. We have receipts, bills, insurance policies, certificates, investment statements, health records, and more. Then added to that is the daily influx of junk mail- magazines, catalogs, sweepstakes entry forms, etc.
Over the next three weeks we will learn how to overcome paper clutter and learn what to do with paper that is necessary.
Your mail needs to have a designated spot. When you pick it up from the mailbox each day, bring it into the house and put it in the same spot. This can be a basket, a designated space on the kitchen counter, or on your desk in your home office.
Your goal should be to handle mail as soon as it enters your home. But at the very least try to have a set time each day that you go through the mail and deal with it, so you don’t end up with piles of mail and magazines spread throughout the house.
- Magazines– Only keep the current month’s issue. If there are articles that you want to keep for future reference or for a recipe, etc., then invest in a 3 ring binder with plastic page protectors. Tear out the article that you like and throw away the rest of the magazine.
- Catalogs– When a catalog arrives at your home and it is not one that your regularly order from call the 800 customer service number on the back and request to be taken off the mailing list.
- Junk Mail– This should be immediately thrown away. If you like the coupons from the ValuPak, etc., then clip the ones you like and throw the rest away. This will cut down on the amount of paper clutter lying around the house. To stop junk mail from coming in the first place, do a Google search for a way to get your name off company mailing lists. When you receive a catalog in the mail there is usually a number on the back to contact if you don’t want to receive any more.
- Bills– Have a place for all the bills that need paid to be filed until it is time to pay them. This can be a plastic shelf divider, a basket, a file folder, an accordion file, etc. Whatever works for you is the best system to have.
- Invitations, fliers, etc.- We all get the invitations to weddings, special events at the senior center and family goings on. Have a place that you put all these and weekly go through and sort out what has already happened and throw it away. As soon as you receive any type of invitation or reminder with a date in the mail you should check your calendar and if you plan to attend go ahead and write it on the calendar so that you don’t forget in the future.
Catch Organizing with Melissa next Wednesday for “Decluttering All the Paper – Part 2”. Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more life organizing tips.