Keep your Papers Organized in 2020

Papers in backpacks and the mail arrive daily. If you’re like us, we place them in neat little piles in the kitchen with the intention of getting them where they need to go later. Then, after a few days, the piles grow into a mountain of bills, statements, brochures, catalogs and flyers. The bigger it gets, the more daunting it is.

Here are some tips to keeping your papers under control, and make sure nothing falls through the cracks with these tips.

1. Make a space
The best place to tackle mail is where it naturally piles up. Make your workspace where the piles accumulate, like the kitchen table. Get a freestanding file folder for action files (bills, school stuff) and reserve files (paid bills, brochures, medical forms). Each family member should have a file for correspondence and invitations.

2. Make it routine
Set aside time each day to sort and stamp. You can probably sift though a pile a day in less than 15 minutes. Whatever you open, deal with it right away, if it’s a bill, pay or file it. A form, fill it out. A letter from the school, read it. An invitation, respond.

3. Snap-to decisions
Give mail that requires more consideration a finite amount of attention. One of the biggest time-wasters is thinking about something too long. You could spend hours pouring over camp brochures, weighing the pros and cons of each place, talking about it with friends. Or you could make an executive decision, and take action.

4. Pay bills online
All major banks offer this free service to account holders. Arrange for automatic payments whereby the payee will electronically send a bill to the bank, and the bank (with your approval), will wire transfer the amount within 2 business days. All you need to do is click “yes.” What’s more, the bank will keep permanent records, so you don’t have to.

5. Get Technical
Reduce paper clutter by scanning documents. Rid your home of unnecessary papers by scanning all of the papers that aren’t vital for us to have in paper form. There are plenty of small scanners on the market that take up less of a footprint than the papers it scans (try You should also look for a scanner that is known for its speed. After reducing the paper clutter in your filing cabinet, go to your magazines. Pull out each article or image that you to keep and scan it. Start a folder on your computer such as “decorating inspiration,” right at your fingertips.

6. Dealing with the Mail
• Open mail by the trash can
• Keep your recycling bin accessible to toss envelopes and inserts that you don’t need
• Shred mail with personal information
• Avoid additional clutter by deciding which catalogs/magazines you will keep and remove your name from those you are no longer interested in reading
• File statements once you have checked them for accuracy

• Set aside time each week to file statements, pay stubs, etc.

• Remember piles are created because we delay making decisions about the paper that comes into our lives.

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