Today is the day! We’re in the home stretch. We have been going through each piece of paper, tackling those piles and conquering the to dos to get rid of paper clutter.
Today though, we conquer the real challenge, keeping our newly organized paper organized.
Here are 4 tips to maintain all that hard work you have put in these past 9 weeks and find your paper management mojo!
A schedule gives you the piece of mind to know you will go through each piece of paper on a regular basis. Some types of paper need more attention than others. For my own paper I use this schedule.
- Sort mail
- Record events and tasks on calendar
- Trash/shred/recycle the paper or file under pending in your Action Files in case you need to reference it.
- Sort to pay and receipts files action files
- File papers I have waiting in my to file folder (I really only do this every other month)
- Sort through reference files. I do this around tax time. I am usually going through files anyway just add a few more to have the peace of mind that all files are current.
- Sort through Kids files and new schoolwork keepsakes
source Real Simple.
Since I am feeling in the printable mood, (did you grab the sample file categories printable?), here is fun little paper management schedule with room to write in.
Here is blank version to plan out your own schedule.
Along with scheduled time to go through files, plan to make some changes to your paper systems as you go. Paper clutter sneaks back in when you’re not looking. Pay attention to what’s working and what is not and tweak as needed.
Purge As You Go
When you use a file, take the extra minute to remove any paper you no longer need or belongs elsewhere. One example is when you add a new manual to your collection, remove the item it is replacing.
I love this tip from Julie Morgenstern. Every time to you access a file put a small little pencil dot right by the file name. At the end of the year, the number of dots next to file’s name indicates how often a file is use. Files with no dots can be tossed or moved into long-term storage if needed for tax purposes.
With that in mind keep extra files on hand. Create a home for that stray paper rather than adding it to a pile. Write the name on the files (messy or not) and get it into use. You can always set a time later to make “professional-looking” file tabs. The goal is to make filing as simple as possible!
Conquer Past Files
All this sound great; right? But what if you have a whole 4-drawer file cabinet full of old files. What do you do?
I can tell you what often happens…nothing. We let our old files sit and buy a new file box to house the current papers. Well not today!
Now that the current ones are in order, we can little by little conquer old files. Take on one folder a day to sort through. Just think, in just a months time you’ll be through 30 folders. 5 file folders each weekend will have the same effect. You pick!
You could find some of those important papers you’ll need to keep, but most of the papers you unearth will be out of date. You don’t need them any more and it will feel so freeing to release them from your life.
Did you miss a week?
- Week 1 Taxes
- Week 2 Important docs
- Week 3 Medical Paperwork
- Week 4 Archival- Focusing on Children’s Schoolwork
- Week 5 Manuals and Warranties
- Week 6 Home Binder
- Week 7 Project Basket
- Week 8 Action Files
- Week 9 Reference Files
- Week 10 Paper Managment
I would love to hear your own progress with banishing paper clutter! Please share your paper organizing with us in the comments below.