As a mum of 3 school age kids, I find myself surrounded in lose papers - everywhere! A notice for an excursion here, the latest newsletter there, and then on top of all of that all the artwork that the kids bring home.
Sometimes it can feel like you are drowning in papers. Surrounded in all sorts and shades.
Paperwork on top of the fridge, microwave, spread across the dining room table, corners in the lounge and living areas and then of course there's the desk! I even find it quite annoying having to return papers to the school, they get lost among it all and then they end up late, if returned at all!
I've been searching for the best tips to get rid of paper piles and be more organised!
Some of them I have done myself, and others I will be doing this month.
First things first, stop the future paper where you can! Organise to have your bills emailed to you! If you really need to have a copy of it, you can then print it yourself at home. More often than not though, having the PDF version is more than enough.
Do the same for your banking, get your statements emailed to you rather than sent in the post. Again, if you ever need a hard copy, you can print it then!
Now that you've stopped future paper its time to deal with what you've got. This is probably the most intimidating part of the process because, while you think you don't have that much, you certainly find out otherwise.
Clear your desk, the top of the fridge and even that drawer you think nobody knows about. All of it. Pop it all together in one spot and sort it! Don't worry if it mixes business and personal, school and bills - put it all together and the sort it into these 4 piles.
If you're wanting to have a minimalist approach to paper you can even level it up and scan everything! Ok, not your birth certificates and passports etc, but all the other stuff.
Scan it all and file it on a hard drive or USB. Just make sure whatever you do, keep it safe and/or back it up!
Now that you have your piles you can use whatever storing method you would like, for said piles. It might be an expandable filer, a plastic tub with dividers, a filing cabinet... heck it can be shoe boxes. Whatever works for you!
Now there is only one thing left. It's something that I 100% need to do better. Use the One Touch method any time your hot little hands touch paper. Even snail mail and even all the kids school stuff.
You have your boxes (if that's what you chose) for your piles (deal with it, store it and scrap it) and the 4th box is the bin (or shredder).
But what does the one touch method actually mean, and what does it look like for you?
In a nutshell, deal with it as soon as you touch it.
Don't get the mail from the letter box, to then move it to the front stand, that then gets moved to the coffee table and... well I think you get my drift.
Once you get it in those hands, put it where it now goes!
If you need to fill it in and get it back to the school, it goes into your deal with it box/container/envelope.
If its another pretty picture from art, scan it or scrap it! I have a tub on wheels under my bed, for each of the kids. Now, anytime they bring home a paper based artwork (even their reports and school photos, actually) I go straight to my room and pop it the relevant child's tub.
If it's useless, chuck it! Of course please recycle where relevant to.
If you use these tips and then follow the one touch method, you will find that paper piles are a problem of the past!