If you're like most people, you probably find yourself dealing with an influx of paperwork on a daily basis. Whether it's sorting the mail, paying bills, filing important documents, or keeping track of appointments and RSVP cards, you may find that your paper piles are quickly getting out of control.
Today I'd like to share with you a simple solution for getting paperwork in order. I started this system a few years ago, and it's worked well for me so far. My bills and RSVPs get sent in on time, appointments are kept, and - best of all - my desk stays clutter-and-paper-pile free!
My first move was to purchase a desk organizer. It has two vertical slots for sorting things in the top, and a small drawer in the bottom. Depending on how much paper you deal with on a daily basis, you may need something larger or smaller than this.
Secondly, you'll need several wooden clothespins. You can go all out decorating them with scrapbook paper, printed labels, or paint like these, or you can simply do what I did and use a Sharpie to label them.
Then you need to decide on your categories for sorting paperwork. Mine include:
To Do (Beth)
To Do (Josh)
Gifts to Buy
I also have an "Urgent" clip that gets attached to anything that needs immediate attention... However, you should label yours based on the types of paperwork you find yourself dealing with on a regular basis.
When not in use, the clips go onto the back of the wooden organizer. When the mail comes in, it gets opened immediately, and then each item goes into the appropriate clip and is stuck into the rear section of the divider. Junk mail goes directly into the trash or shredder.
About once a week, I go through the organizer and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. The labeled clips allow me to see at a glance what's in there and keeps things from getting lost in a mass of papers.
If I don't feel like filing bill or paycheck stubs right away, they simply go into the "To File" clip. When the organizer starts getting too full, I spend an afternoon filing the "to file" papers in my file drawer, writing letters that need to be written, paying bills, balancing checkbooks, or setting up appointments.
Wedding, baby shower, or birthday invitations go into either the "RSVP" clip or "gifts to buy" clip, or both. Once I've returned the RSVP and ordered the gift, the date of the event is marked in my desk calendar, and the invitation gets hung on the refrigerator next to my weekly whiteboard calendar.
Correspondence that needs to be answered goes into my "To Write" clip; cards that accompanied gifts received go into my "Thank You" clip so that I can be sure to remember to send a thank you note. Vet, dental, and doctor reminder cards go into the "Appointments" or "To Call" clips.
In addition to my paperwork, I keep some other items in the organizer as well. I have a small calculator, an address book, notepads, Gospel tracts to enclose with my bills (make sure you pay them on time if you're going to do that!), my business account checkbook, and any check registers that are full but haven't yet been reconciled.
In the little drawer I keep postage stamps, tape, rubber bands, a Wite-Out runner, and paper clips.
This system has kept my desk neat, papers from getting misplaced, and my life a little less chaotic since I've been using it. If you've been having trouble getting your piles of paperwork under control, you may want to try it yourself. Let me know if you do!