This is Part 3 of the 3-Part series: Get Rid of Paper Clutter Once and For All. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Last week we looked at how to organise and declutter the papers you already have in your home.
How did you do? Did you find it easier than expected? Harder? Are you still battling through?
Don’t give up, sister! You’re nearly there!
Today, I have some tips for keeping on top of the incoming paper and for keeping your filing system organised. If you follow some (or all) of these tips, you will never find yourself elbow deep in paper clutter again.
Dealing With Incoming Paper:
- Sort through it as soon as possible. If you have a designated place for your mail (perhaps the landing strip or your admin area) then make sure you place it there.
- Even better (but not entirely realistic) is to aim to “touch it once”. That is, collect it from the mailbox, open it, sort it and action it – all in one go. Then you won’t need to worry about sorting, or piles, or holding boxes. It just gets done.
Tips for When You Are Sorting:
- Open everything and sort into categories:
- papers to be actioned
- papers to be filed
- papers to be recycled
- Move them to the designated places straight away:
- paper to be actioned will go to your admin area
- paper to be filed can be filed immediately or put in a holding box (like I mentioned in part 2, ours is a box)
- paper to be recycled gets put in the recycling bin
Tips for When You Are Actioning:
- Pay bills as soon as possible.
- Choose a day each week as your ‘money day’. Use that time to pay or schedule bills, organise the coming weeks’ budget, transfer money between accounts, etc. (This should take you 10 minutes maximum each week).
Tips for When You Are Filing:
- Stick to the one in, one out rule. Filing a phone bill? Then take out the oldest and recycle it. This means you keep 12 months worth at all times and don’t end up with years of paperwork filed away unnecessarily.
Some of these tips will suit your needs, others may not. The main thing to remember is that if everything has a place, it is so, so much easier to keep organised.
And, hey! You’ve just eliminated your paper clutter once and for all. Nice work!!