Okay, so what to do with the mounds of paper that you have right now! A few simple steps that have proven to work:
- Block out a day on your calendar to stay home..no appointments, no interruptions. Do not answer the phone unless it is your spouse or your child's school. NO EXCEPTIONS!!
- Wake up early, take a shower, have your quiet time, and your cup of Joe..and if you are like me, make all of the beds! I can't seem to be super productive around the house unless it is pretty-fied!
- Turn on the music that makes you feel alive, light a candle and GET TO WORK!!
- Remember that your primary goal is to rid your drawers and counter tops of unnecessary and unwanted paper. (We will deal with purging filing cabinets on another day!)
- This may sound crazy, but this has worked for myself and several clients..hang with me. Go room by room, start in the kitchen...gather ALL of the papers that have accumulated in that given room. Sit down (I love to sit on the floor and work) with your trash can and/or shredder near by..AND START PURGING! Be real with yourself..do you really need it? Will you really ever look at it? Can you easily access it online? Dispose of the papers immediately..if you have to ponder it, you don't need it!
You will end up with a pile of keepers..(hopefully about 1/3 of what you started with) leave it, and move on to another room..most people only have 2 or 3 rooms where paper accumulates. Ours are our home office and kitchen..but I often have to check the girl's bedrooms for fly aways!
Next, you will:
- Choose a spot to set up your processing station for incoming paper. Most people use the kitchen or home office, but you could also put it just inside the door where you come in and out of your house. NEVER leave it in your car!
- Create categories that fit your lifestyle. Most incoming paper falls into a few categories: To Do, To File, To Read, To Pay or To Destroy. Sort your current papers into these categories...you will then use your other categories from your previous "where does my paper come from" lists. (another post) For instance, I have one category titled For Fred, One for each child, one for a women's group I facilitate and so on...Another example is that I have one client whose kids are very active in a ballet school. She was always getting mounds of notices, flyers, etc from them and all the time losing them...she created a file folder labeled ballet! You get the point!
- Designate a logical spot in your processing area for each category to live using file folders or wall bins. Label each organizing tool, so everyone knows what kind of information lives there and what kind of information doesn’t live there.
- Set up mailboxes or folders for other family members, so everyone can become responsible for their own action items. When you process incoming paper, be sure to put everyone’s items into their own mailbox.
- Don't forget, always make your tools appealing to look at, yes, pretty! And if at all possible, use a labeler! Weird, I know, but I promise it makes a difference!
|My Short Term File Box For Incoming Mail|