Learn how to organize important papers at home!
Wondering how to organize important papers at home? The amount of paper clutter in a home can be out of control. The kitchen is often a magnet for paper clutter. We drop the mail, school papers, bills, receipts, etc all into one chaotic pile on the kitchen counter. As the pile grows, the less likely we are to tackle it because it seems so overwhelming.
The trick to organizing these papers is to learn to stop the clutter from hitting the counter. We have to beat the problem at the source. Which is how I have come to use this simple method to organize paper clutter.
How to Organize Important Papers at Home
Get the papers sorted
If you are starting with stacks of papers that are not sorted, you need to go ahead and sort these. Sort them into categories such as household, school, pets, bills, etc. Shred any outdated or unneeded documents that contain personal information. Other papers can be sorted.
Determine where you will store the papers
You will need to have homes for the following papers:
- Bills- You can go the paperless route or you can have a file cabinet that holds the bills you need to keep.
- Important Documents: Marriage License, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. Keep these in a safe place, preferably a fireproof box.
- Taxes Info- Keep these for the last 3 years. This can be in the bills file cabinet or in a separate one.
- School Papers- I like to put special school papers that we keep in a school memory binder for the kids.
- Receipts- Store these in a file. Make sure to label what the receipt is for.
- Manuals- A lot of manuals are now online. Consider recycling ones you do not need. Keep the others in a 3-ring binder for easy access.
Set up a physical inbox in your home
This is the daily drop zone for papers in your home. This needs to be in a high-traffic area such as the kitchen. Having this inbox will prevent piles of papers.
Before you put papers in the inbox, make sure the filter out any junk mail or urgent papers. Have a specific time that you go through this inbox. Personally, I go through ours every Saturday. I use a wall family command center and keep a folder that says inbox and one that says bills in it.
Keep things up to date.
Every three to six months, do a check of your files. Archive or shred documents that are no longer needed. Tax returns and documents pertaining to household repairs should be kept for at least three years.
A lot of bills can be kept electronically. Consider switching to this and checking out other ways you can go a paperless route. The Paperless Made Simple course will guide you through how to keep things organized digitally. This method is brilliant and will completely eliminate all paper clutter.
How does this system work?
It will take practice but start the habit of putting the papers that come into the home either in the inbox or in the recycling bin. If it is a paper that needs to be dealt with right away (a form that needs to be signed for school), sign it and give it back to your child.
The moment you bring in the mail, open it and take action. Recycle, trash, file. This will help eliminate clutter.
As you can see, by setting up a simple system, you can eliminate paper clutter in your home!
What about you? Any tips for how to organize paper clutter?