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Paper everywhere! How to organize what to keep. Mail, receipts, paperwork, etc.

First, take a deep breath, look at your mail pile and holler and I mean HOLLAH a good “You don’t control me. I control you!” This project may just change your life… ok that’s going a bit far, but once you get the paper under control with a system that works for you, you can maintain the incoming paper a lot easier.

FIRST CREATE A PLACE FOR INCOMING MAIL + PAPER.
I like to use my office/den which is located just off the front door + near the laundry room/garage door entrance.  If you have one of those cute little kitchen desk cubbies I’d consider this spot.

THEN T.A.K.E. CONTROL
I use the acronym T.A.K.E. for setting up and maintaining the mail + incoming paper.

T… Toss [toss.recycle.shred] Create a spot to house both the recycling + shredder.

A… Act [pay.read.call.decide.enter] This is the heart of this system. You can create files, use a binder with pocket dividers or clipboards. Pick an organizing style that works best for you and your space.

  • PAY.  This is where bills land.  Keep a pen, extra checkbook, couple of envelopes + stamps in this area.
  • EVENTS.  Invites and interesting brochures.
  • FILE.  The items I’m too lazy to file immediately.
  • RECEIPTS + COUPONS.  Because gosh darn it I may just use that coupon.  I also keep short term receipts here- b-day presents, online purchases.  Gift cards as well.
  • SPOUSE.  The items that your spouse needs to look at or keep stashed.
  • DECIDE.  Things you need to think about and don’t know where else to put them!
  • SCHOOL . The calendar, the passwords, the contact info etc.
  • PROJECTS.  Are you working on something and want to quickly tuck it away….

K… Keep [file.put-away]
Box up bank statements, investment communications and big packets of stuff you need to keep– don’t deal with a file folders because they will get clogged quickly.  You can stack ‘em or line ‘em up.   Label them:  BANK |  FINANCE  |  TAXES

Add a basket or magazine file box for catalogs + magazines. Try standing these up as opposed to stacking them… You’ll be able to flip through them much more quickly. The new Bento boxes would be perfect for this…Pick the style to match your space!

E… Edit [ remove yourself from mailing lists]
I love getting a catalog or two, but those all credit offers have got to go… go away that is.  Here’s some quick info that will put you back in control.

Drop the ValPak coupons if you aren’t using them! You’ll need your envelope to input the correct info. click here to be removed from their list.

Call the Credit Bureaus to opt out… click here then Contact them again in 2 years.

Remove your name from the Direct Marketing Association Mailing lists by clicking here.

Tackling paper is an ongoing process… so take 2 minutes everyday to maintain your new system!

Krista Colvin is the Organized Lifestyle Expert for AM Northwest, creator of Organize The Whole SheBang [the smart woman's guide to doing it all], and a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. She’s a social media savvy, too much coffee-drinkin’ mama of two. Check out her blog at Organize the Whole SheBang!

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2 Responses to Paper everywhere! How to organize what to keep. Mail, receipts, paperwork, etc.

  1. Michelle vendetti February 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    I have court papers. i have so many. they are all for me and my driving record. so i need to finger out how to organize my court papers and dol papers. i have old and i have new. i have some file folders i use for storage but am hoping there’s a better idea than file folders. something that will be stylish for a long ti me and make it fun and easy for me to access my old or new court documents. i have been struggling with this for a long time. please send me any ideas u may have to help me. i can send u pictures too. thanks !

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