A few months ago, I shared my secret shame, my piles of disorganized household papers that were making a mess and causing me constant stress. If you missed it, here’s a link. The problem bothered me because I am extremely organized at work and overall pretty neat.
As of that blog, I had been practicing a new system for about three months, and I’m happy to tell you that at the half-year mark, my paper clutter is still under control, thanks to this very easy organization method.
Every new paper that comes into the house goes into fabric box I keep on my writing shelf. There are only four “active files” in my box, standing up in the back. For me, they are:
1. Goals/Projects/To Do – where I put random lists or ideas
2. 2015 bills/claims – anything for tax purposes
3. 2015 writing receipts – I keep my writing business paperwork separate
4. Gift certificates/shopping/coupons – I pull this file out as needed for household purchases
Anything that doesn’t fit into one of those folders goes into the pile at the front of the box. Once a week, I go through that pile and file what needs to be saved in my filing cabinet, make calls for appointments, or handle whatever else is in the pile. It never gets overwhelming when I keep up with it weekly.
I’ve found the most papers come from my two sons’ schools. There are pictures, permission slips, artwork and other mementos they want to save, and information on upcoming events. The papers we will need in the future go in the main pile. For keepsakes, I bought a Hefty clear plastic box with a locking lid for each son and enough envelopes for each school year.
It took us some time to sort through previous years’ papers and art, but once those were all in envelopes, the rest of the organizing has been easy. I’ve put anything we might want to keep on top of the envelopes in their boxes, and now that school is over we will sort through and keep enough to fit into one envelope.
Each envelope is labeled on the front with name, grade, school year, and school name. When they are ready for them as adults, I will hand over their boxes, all finished.
One of the keys for finding more satisfaction in my life is feeling like I have some control over the little things. I constantly felt like I was failing because I couldn’t keep up with my paperwork. This little victory has allowed me to feel so much more relaxed and peaceful when I’m at home.
If you enjoy reading my blog, please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, about a divorced mom making tough choices and a fresh start.