Every day papers and emails come into my life from various sources. It is a never ending cycle. It is difficult for me to be productive if I see papers all over the place, so I have established a system with a spot for all incoming items. It took a while to become a habit, but it really works for me.
When I am at home, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen so this is where the paper organization center starts. I have a small command center on a counter. My goal is to keep all of the information that comes in organized and accessible for future action, while keeping a little paper as necessary.
When I open the mail, items are either filed immediately or read and thrown away. If I need to keep the paper for future action, I file it in a folder. My folders include the following: Food Ads, Coupons, Unpaid Bills, Events/Entertainment and Receipts, to name a few.
If I only need to glean bits of information from the incoming paper, I will take a photo with my phone and toss out the paper version. If the item is a document I will need for taxes or future use, it is filed in a filing cabinet in another room. If the item requires response or a payment, it is filed under unpaid bills so that I can respond later.
To the left of this file box are binders for the major projects in my life. The binders are great because these projects require more storage space than a file folder offers.
These binders include Household Information, Organized Island and My Parents. My parents are on in years and I keep medical and treatment records to help manage their health. I use other binders as well, but not as often, so I do not need to keep them in the kitchen. This is valuable kitchen property, so I try not to waste it.
Binders can be changed up to match decor and can be organized any way you like. I appreciate this flexibility because the user can determine how they categorize the information.
This system allows me to:
- Keep information organized and accessible
- Keep as little paper as possible
- Keep my kitchen counters clear of clutter
- Purge papers on a regular basis
What system do you use to organize your incoming papers?