It comes from everywhere – junk mail, magazines, coupons, kid’s school papers, bills, etc. Then there is the issue of keeping papers that really could/should be tossed or shred. Here are some questions some of our readers had about how to handle stacks of paper and implement a system to keep paper from piling up again.
Thanks for asking Kathy!
Is a filing system in my home office important? – AJ
Having a file cabinet or desktop file will give you a place to store papers you need to keep. Once you take your paper piles through that I have mentioned below, you’ll want to make sure the papers you need to keep are filed. Not only will a good filing system prevent paper pile-ups on your desk or countertop, a good filing system is important for finding needed information later, when you need it. I suggest breaking your file into four, color-coded sections:
- Financial section: Use green hanging folders and manila folders with left-hand tabs.
- Insurance/Vehicles section: Use blue hanging folders and manila folders with left-hand tabs.
- Personal section: Use yellow hanging folders and manila folders with center tabs.
- Home section: Use red hanging folders and manila folders with right-hand tabs.
I want a system to manage incoming paper but I don’t even know where to start. Can you help me? -NF
What is document retention? Why do you use it? -MH
- If a document needs someone else’s knowledge or response, decide how you will notify them, give it to them … maybe give everyone in the house their own mailbox and mark pages with colored markers or colored sticky notes.
- If you have papers still remaining, sort them intothree groups: things to review, calendar items and events or outstanding bills. Then, schedule and pay, right then!
- Lastly, any paper that hasn’t been trashed, delegated or acted on needs to go into a long-term storage file, drawer or box. For setting up your home filing system, I think this resource from Better Homes & Gardens will be a great resource for you.
Kathy Jenkins is the President of Come To Order, a residential professional organizing company in Richmond, VA. As a Certified Professional Organizer®,Certified Family Manager® Coach, Love & Logic Parenting® Facilitator/Coach andStudent Organizer, Kathy especially enjoys working with kids and their families to help them learn good organizational skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. To learn more about Love & Logic Parenting, follow Kathy on Facebook.