Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is paper clutter driving you MAD?

With six kids and my husband coming and going, we deal with this issue daily. It's like anything else, it takes discipline and is a daily item you have to keep tabs on. So here are some 'rules' to managing the paper clutter on a daily basis.

1) Handle it when it comes in. No letting piles build up. 

Ask the kids daily if there is anything to sign / pay for / know that's going on at school. The younger kids' backpacks (and sometimes the older ones too) need to be gone through daily.

We have a "clip system" where we keep the kids papers that need to be signed/reviewed. We look at the "tray" nightly.

2) Keep bills that need to be paid in a "to be paid" basket next to the computer so you can pay them and let them go. Go to an online bill paying system when available. Pay bills once a week and shred them if they're available online.

3) Medical receipts. Still working on this one..... But..... We have to scan these in and send the to 'other parents', so I am going to be looking for a way for us to scan them into a folder on our shared household hard drive. Great investment by the way if you have a lot of data / pix / movies / videos so they can all be stored in one place.

4) Junk mail is junk mail. Throw it out. If it's a coupon, put it in the coupon binder and then it won't be sitting out cluttering up your life.

5) Other paper... Keep things by year, then just keep the last seven years. Permanent files are separate, and never go away. Life insurance policies, household documents, etc. Property files, keep for seven years after after sold.

This is a great info graphic from Clean Momma. Check her out on Pinterest. Information galore!

6) Binder System: the most important thing is that you have a system that works for you and that your family buys in to the system also. Otherwise it won't work! 

 Check out MyDomesticatedLife YouTube channel for a good home management binder tour.

Planner: YES, I still use a handwritten planner. I got into the habit of using a hand written planner and then got sold on Erin Condren planners a few years ago through my friend Tonya. I go through my digital calendar weekly and as I add appts and add them to the planner. Planner is where I plan menus, to do lists, etc, so it's more than just appointment setting for me.

My husband and I also still use a Gmail Calendar to keep our appointments merged on our iPhones. It seems a little redundant, but it works for us, and he buys into the gmail system so... We will keep doing it.

Check out HappilyaHousewife's YouTube channel for an unboxing of an Erin Condren planner. They're like 50 bucks but it's good for a year and a half, so to us it was worth it.

7) Art / Keepsakes: we have a file for each kid. Art is filed and then during the first few weeks of the summer or the spring semester (depending on the time of year) each kids' file is gone through and trash is trash, art and keepsakes are either dated and kept in their "memory box" (which is just a large plastic bin) with their name on it or photographed for an "art book" that I will make on shutterfly for a graduation gift.

8) Magazines: get digital copies where available. Don't keep issues more than a year. Go through the issue and tear out and scan in the articles you want to read and put them in a "reading file" digitally or in hard copy for later viewing.

9) Family Meeting: Everyone in the house needs to respect and know the system. If it's just YOU organizing everyone it will never work! 

Remember: Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. -Chinese Proverb

10) Status update: on a weekly basis ask everyone how it's going with any new systems that have been implemented. Ask for honest & constructive feedback. I can't stress the importance of a FAMILY INVESTMENT in the system. Try a few things, let me know how it goes!

Thanks, J

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