Tips for Organizing Paper!
Remember the 5 minute rule we looked at in our previous Baby Steps to Organization? That five minute rule is a great way to measure the success of your organizational system. This is especially true with paper!
My paper organization systems are extremely simple, and I by no means have all paper under control or mastered at my house, but I try to at least be somewhat organized in my day to day dealings with the most common incoming papers.
So for the curious, here are the basic systems I use for day to day sorting:
Right when paper comes in to our home, I take a look at it and if we don’t need it, it goes into the recycling bin. I keep a recycling basket handy in our kitchen pantry so there is never an excuse to toss it on the counter or floor. I hate seeing piles of paper everywhere.
This is a Martha Stewart photo of oil cloth bulletin board.
My current board is not cute yet, so it is not pictured.
2) Bulletin boards.
We have what I call a “family central” bulletin board. When we have something important like concert tickets, a zoo pass, ice cream coupons or anything else people might be looking for or that is valuable or time sensitive, we keep it on the bulletin board. Every so often I go through and toss anything that is no longer relevant. It makes life a lot easier to know there is only one place those sorts of papers would be!
3) Back of the pantry door.
School age children seem to bring home tons of paper every day. Without a designated place for all those papers, I’d go crazy. I sort through them every day after school and toss what we don’t want.
My son’s current school papers, lunch menus and calendars all get taped up on the back of our pantry door. I wish I had a nice wall space to hang a cute bulletin board, but I just seem to be lacking the perfect spot for that right now. One of these days I might create the perfect space. For now, it isn’t perfect. It is just a door with things taped on it. Not fancy, but functional!
4) The bill basket.
We have a bill basket on a shelf in the pantry where all incoming bills go. I open the bill, toss out all the inserts and envelopes (we pay our bills online) and then just stick the paper bill in the basket. I pay bills twice a month and after the bill is paid, it goes in my “paid” file drawer. At the end of the year, I recycle the old bills. Better yet, many of my utilities and household bills are now offering paperless billing. The less paper coming in, the less to manage.
5) Family files.
I really dislike filing (remember I am a visual person and file cabinets HIDE stuff!), but I do have one drawer for family files. Each of my kids, our dog Winston and my husband and I have a file. We each have a medical file and a file for everything else. When I need to figure out when my kids’ last tetanus shot was, I just go to their medical file. I don’t keep fancy pants records or color coded notebooks on each child, but I try to keep the photo copies our doctor’s office gives us of immunization records.
6) Personal bins.
There always seem to be papers for each family member that we do not need but someone wants to keep. School drawings or newspaper articles or sports awards or whatever. Each person in our family has a labeled Rubber Maid tote in a closet and if it is one of those “not sure where it goes” type of things, that is where I stick it. Again, nothing fancy but at least it has a home.
How do you deal with paper?
Catch up on the other organizing tips in this ongoing series!
This Friday, join me for a Creative Organization link up! I’d love for you to link up any posts you’ve done recently or in the past on Creative Organization Ideas! Let’s see how you keep your life organized (any room in the house and it does not have to be about paper organization) and how to make it look cute all at the same time!
top image: a friends “family central” organizational calendar. I love that there is a dry erase calendar with space to pin up papers nearby.