Does this sight look familiar?
Are you overwhelmed with the amount of paper coming into your house every week?
Paperwork is a tricky beast to handle. It’s inevitable that you have to deal with it and stay on top of it or it will take over your space. It’s the least fun thing to do because it is boring. It is usually the last priority on your list, unless, it’s tax season, then you are scrambling to gather all the paperwork needed to file your tax return so you don’t get penalized and hope to get a refund.
Here are a few tips to help you simplify and get rid of your pile of paperwork.
Set up paperless billing so you have one less paperwork to deal with. Bank and credit card companies make it convenient for you to set up notifications so you can easily monitor your charges and payments. The notification feature allows you to quickly see fraudulent charges on your credit or debit card. In addition to notifications, you can set up automatic payment so you can make sure your bills are paid on time.
Going digital will eliminate 80% of the paperwork. (We recommend setting up a digital command center for your digital paperwork. Look for upcoming blogs about digital organizing.)
Create a simple system: Your command center
The remaining 20% can be handled by setting up a command center in your home. A command center is a zone in your home everyone passes through. It can be a corner in the kitchen, a nook in the hallway, or a desk in the living room. It is a place where you put your reminders and actionable items, such as bills, sports schedule, school papers that require action or insurance notifications.
For your incoming mail, create a space divided in 3 categories:
Incoming: for the mail you didn’t have time to open
Actionable: For the mail you have opened and need your attention
File: for the paperwork you need to keep.
An important item you should have in the common center is a big envelope for your tax related documents for the current tax year. That way, you will be able to easily retrieve these documents when you file your tax return. It will save you the stress and hassle of looking for them.
Have a shredder and recycle bin nearby, so when you sort your paperwork, you can easily discard the ones you don’t need.
A simple way to stay on top of your incoming paperwork, is to schedule 5-10 minutes each day to sort them.
A receipt is one of the most common paperwork people keep, thinking they will need it someday if they return the item. Ninety-nine percent of the time they end up keeping the item, so the receipt becomes part of the clutter. Some big retailers, such as Target and Macy’s, keep your credit card purchases on file, so if you have return something and you don’t have the receipt, they can easily bring it up on their computer.
All unnecessary paperwork is clutter because it adds no value to your life and will prevent you from finding the paperwork you actually need.