Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I did my momtv.com web cast last night on Paper Clutter. I am going to rerun the post that I did several months back, below.
Kristy asked in the comments about the family bringing in all the papers and how to handle that.
Have a "drop zone" for your mail. A basket or bin, some place that everyone in the family knows to put the mail. It may be children's papers (see this Thursday's post for Children's papers)from school too. Any papers coming into the house by anyone needs to go in this designated spot. Then you need to go through all these papers using the system below.
I mentioned last night in my web cast last night that Barbara Hemphill who wrote Taming The Paper Tiger has a basically the same system, but has made it very easy to remember the categories.
She says that every paper coming into the house goes into one of these categories.
F - File
A - Action
T - Trash
This is a real easy way to remember it. It gets broken down a little more than this and I go into it, but this helps you to realize that every paper has a place.

All of us have sooooo many papers coming into our homes everyday. We have bills, magazines, coupons, advertisements, newspapers, and many more. It can get completely over whelming!!! So what do you do with all of them? What do you keep? What do you throw away???
You would think that with the Internet and e-mail that our influx of paper would be greatly reduced, but it has decreased by very little.
Figuring out a way to manage the paper is the key. We have to control the paper and not let the paper control us!! I know that sound so silly, but it can be true.
You need to work out a sorting system for any paper that comes through your door. If you know what to do with it when it comes in..then it hopefully won't pile up.
Ok...its actually very basic.

You can do it all in 4 sorting bins.
1) Bills
2) Action
3) File
4) Pitch

The Bill bin could very well be in the Action bin, it is an action. But I like to keep them separated so that bills don't get lost in a pile of things that may not be as important or dated. It can be easy to get behind in your bill paying, and that can cause problems with your credit..not to mention your nerves.

The Action bin is anything that needs attention. Filling out a permission slip for your childs field trip, a form to order that book that you need for a class, a form that needs to be filled out for insurance, etc.

The File bin is any paper that you need to keep (notice I said "need") and will be filed in a hanging file of a file cabinet.

The Pitch bin should end up being your biggest pile. You do need to pay attention to what goes into the trash can. Having a shredder is important. You want to make sure that you shred anything that has any financial information on it, personal information on it or as some suggest even your name or address. With this age of someone being able to steal your identity, it's important to be careful.

So when you bring in your mail...take a minute and stand in front of your 4 bins (stackable plastic paper trays work great...and if you have the space, you don't need to stack them) and sort through it. Take each piece and quickly decide if its an ad and you don't plan to ever use it...pitch it! If its a bill thats easy. You don't have to take the time to open your bills at this point, unless you are unsure if it is or not. Take those zillions of credit card offers and put them in the pitch bin! Don't spend too much time on it. Any ads will come back again and you can always find information on the Internet.

If you take a few minutes each day to go through your papers and sort them then you soon can have a table that looks like this

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I like this idea but need more information. I am organized and have no issue with opening my mail over the trash, then filing whatever else is keepable. HOWEVER, no one else in my household is there with me and they ALL bring home papers or get the mail. So, if I buy some bins, how do I make this something that everyone in the house will use? Is there a special place for putting the bins, like close to the most used door, or something, that would make it easier and more visible for the family to use?

Also, if these bins are going to be out on regular basis, what kind would you suggest so that they are attractive and add to the house decore?

Thanks for the help!