Friday, 12 December 2014

Organising Your Paperwork

The benefits of organising your household paperwork is obvious. But easy it is not! It takes a lot of thought and planning and eventually maintenance. So why do it? Mounds of paperwork, trying to find your passport, last credit card bill, receipt for an item you want to return. That’s why? When everything is orderly and organised you can find what you want in an instance and the pleasing aesthetics of a clear countertop can work wonders on your countenance! So here are five steps to clear the clutter and get on top of your documents.

Central Hub

Grab all your paperwork from all over the house. Bring them to one central spot. Mine is my Office area located in the dining room. From here I can do everything. I can organise my documents online, check my bank records online, sort and organise my mail and file away documents.

Keep It Simple!

You need a system that isn’t going to overcomplicate things, remember you are trying to make it easy to find the paperwork you want when you need it. So here is how I do it:

Navigating Mail

First I have three folders that I store in a magazine box on my desk. I’ve labelled them ‘to-do’, ‘to-read’ and ‘to-file’. Everyday when I sort the post, I put them into one of these piles or put junk mail straight into the bin. While I am sorting, any bills that are not automatically paid by direct debit, I make a note of the date I want to pay them in my diary and then file them in the ‘to-do’ folder.

Get Rid of Receipts

Once a week, usually on a Sunday, I go through all the receipts in my purse and either put them in the ‘to-file’ section of the desk folders (see above) or purge them. I have  an automatic ‘toss list’ in my head of receipts I know I don’t have to hold on to, like grocery receipts, restaurant receipts and clothing receipts (once I’ve tried them on and taken the labels off).

Monthly Sort Out

Once a month, I sit down with a strong mug of coffee and get to work sorting each document into more permanent storage or when possible throwing it out. Again I have three separate storage types for this. My first is a file box, where I keep the ‘forever’ documents (birth certificates, passports, mortgage agreements, etc.). My second is a concertina folder split into 12 month dividers. Here I keep yearly documents like bank statements, vehicle maintenance, bills and the like. Lastly I have a small concertina folder divided monthly to hold receipts and cheque stubs for that year.

It may sound like a lot to do, but once you have gone through your initial pile up, it gets easier each month. And when you are able to find information you need at the drop of a hat, your face will just light up.

How do you organise your paperwork? Let me know of any success stories below.

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