Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Works for me Wednesday: Papers

I am not a very organized person in general. When it comes to papers, as both a teacher and a homemaker, I suck. They would get everywhere and completely overwhelm me if I didn't have a system.

My years in a classroom actually taught me (through trial by fire) the necessity of two things when it came to papers: having a place for everything and handling every piece of paper only once.

So at home for all my papers, I have a three shelf tray (actually this one from Ikea). I place it on top of my filing cabinet and next to my shredder and recycle bin.

Every day, when the mail comes, or really any time papers come into the house, I open them immediately. I recycle or shred everything I don't need to keep, and everything else goes in one of my three trays. The top is for things I need to be able to see and grab immediately: checks that need to be deposited, reminder cards for upcoming appointments. The second tray is for "action items": bills that need to be paid, rebates that need to be filled out. The bottom drawer is for things that need to be filed.

Then, every few days or at least once a week, I go through my trays in order. Anything that needs my immediate attention gets dealt with first (appointments getting added to calendars, RSVPs), then if I still have time I pay whatever bills I have, then if I still have time I do my filing. In all honesty, I haven't filed very many times since I had the baby, but at least I know that everything that needs to be filed is in one safe place, and even if I don't get to my filing all my bills get paid on time.

(I also keep my stamps, checkbook, and address stickers right in the tray where I keep my bills. That way I always know where everything is and can get through the task faster).

It isn't a perfect system, but it works for me.


Michelle said...

3 shelves, huh? Maybe it can work for me, too. I've been wondering how to tackle the paper monster lately, but my idea has been a huge binder. Something small sounds more appealing. Thanks for sharing!