Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
Paper seems to be all consuming, even in our digital world. Despite everyone’s attempts to become “paperless,” paper still seems to make its way into our house.
The key to paper is having a system to deal with it so it doesn’t become piles around the house or lost when it should be addressed.
The first thing that needs to be in place is a place for everyone to put paper when it comes into the house. It helps to keep this drop zone in an area that everyone frequents so each family member remembers to drop their papers in the drop zone. This includes mail, kids’ papers from school and receipts or other papers you may want to keep. For mail, I like to open it right away so I can throw away what I clearly don’t need and drop the rest in my drop zone. We keep ours in a drawer in the kitchen so it doesn’t clutter up the counters, but I don’t have to travel to place the paper where it should go.
The next part of the system is to periodically go through the paper. I like to do this at least once a week. I do this on an easy dinner day while the kids are occupied and dinner is in the oven. I go through all the papers and determine who needs to deal with each paper or what I need to save. Then, they are either addressed right away if it takes less than 2 minutes or placed on my desk if I want to deal with them later. If my husband is in charge of them, I place them on the counter to remember to take up to his office and either put them on his desk or file.
If you can just start with a system to handle incoming paper, you’re already in a good place! Just make sure you remember to go through the papers so they don’t pile up and get to an overwhelming point. Next, I will include discussion on some categories of papers and how I file them or keep them for reference.
Reference papers are those you may need to refer back to and want to keep. There are two types of reference papers, those you may need and rarely need to reference, and those you need more often. They should be stored in different places.
Papers that you may need more often, such as kids medical papers for school and sports, and other identifying paperwork, I like to keep in a binder on my desk. These are only papers that I will need to reference at least once a year. This way, when I need my child’s social security number, I don’t have to go upstairs to our file cabinet and disrupt the flow of what I’m doing. It’s right on my desk! Plus, knowing where important papers are is always a good thing! In the event of an emergency, I can grab the binder right away.
Other reference papers, such as home closing, car paperwork, and tax paperwork, do not need to be accessed often, if ever. I like to keep these in a small file cabinet out of the way. This paperwork does not need to be in prime real estate of your house! A big mistake I see a lot is keeping this file cabinet in the way of something you use every day. This file cabinet can go in an office to the side or even in a plastic file bin in the attic. My husband has extra file cabinet space in his office, and this is where we keep this paperwork. I rarely go into his office, except to put papers into files or drop off paper he needs to address. So, to me, this is out of the way.
Also, when it comes to reference papers, really consider what you need to keep. If they have already been addressed, you do not need to keep them. This is only for future reference. I like to keep receipts having to do with our house so we have the information for how long it’s been since we bought our AC unit or washer and dryer. Many papers, you do not need to keep. Bills that have been paid may be thrown away. Take care of them right away, if possible, so you’re not keeping the paper as a “reminder.” Really think about if you may need this paper in the future or not. If no, throw it away!
If you have children, the amount of paper coming into your house will increase by a lot! Luckily, a lot of the school registering paperwork is online, however, the work product coming home from school is never ending. If you do have permission slips or information coming home in paper form, add it to your drop zone immediately and deal with it when you go through your paperwork.
Another piece of paper to add to the drop zone is artwork or class work. This can also be addressed when you go through your drop zone paperwork.
I typically go through this type of paper and place it into two piles. The first will go to my office and be added to a file of all the artwork for this year. The second pile will be thrown away after my kids go to bed. I don’t like to throw away anything of theirs in front of them, but some pieces I know I will not keep. My youngest is two. The only things I keep from him currently are those with his picture or a handprint. Other than that, it’s mainly scribbles or the teacher did it. If it’s not something I’m going to look back on, I get rid of it.
For my four year old, I keep a lot more and go through it at the end of the year. I kept things he was really proud of bringing home, those with pictures or handprints, and some artwork had stories he dictated which I love keeping. As he gets older, I plan to include him in this process and we can narrow down the amount to save at the end of the school year. I have a file cabinet in my office that I keep their artwork in. Another good option is a plastic file bin for each kid and a file for each school year to keep items you’ll want to remember. This is my plan as they get older and the file cabinet starts to fill up.
Some other child papers you may want to keep may not fit by grade level. You can either add another file at the end of each kid for keepsakes or have a separate box. I like having another box for keepsakes for items that don’t fit in a file very well. Since my children are young, I have some things from the hospital when they were born as well as their coming home outfits that are monogrammed for each child. I periodically look through these boxes and I’m sure as they get older, I will get rid of some things and add in other items they love and I want to remember.
If you don’t, the paper will continue to pile up and not be addressed. If you have a lot of paper, find 30 minutes to an hour each week to start addressing the papers around your house. Slowly gather all the papers and place them in your drop zone to start to go through. Getting rid of the piles and stacks around your house will definitely help you feel more organized!
And if you are overwhelmed with paper and don’t know where to start, send me an email at email@example.com or fill in the contact information on my website and we can book a phone call to decide what would be some good next steps for you.
Brand + Website By Carrylove Designs
Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
| Brand + Website By Carrylove Designs