Sort It ~ Professional Organizing for the Toronto Area



Let’s Get Digital

Paper. We all have it, but some of us have NO CLUE as to what to do with it! Here are a few tips to bring that mountain back down to a realistic, working, active pile.

 

 

1. Open your mail. I know that this might sound crazy, but it’s the first step. Also, open it right over the recycling bin. Why? Because inside most envelopes are flyers, pamphlets or brochures trying to sell you something you’ll never need. Open those envelopes and keep the one paper that you actually need.

2. Do something with the paper. Do you pay all your bills at one sitting, or as they come in? If you wait to pay them, have an area where you place paperwork that requires action. For us, we use the top of our filing cabinet. When we pay something off or update required information, then we file it. Right away. A lot of people hate filing, but it’s remarkable how quickly it can be completed if you have the right system in place, and if you are consistent with doing it regularly. With well labeled files, you know exactly where that paper belongs – quick and easy.

3. Cull your paper. Some documents you need for up to 7 years (for tax purposes), some longer (Will, Insurance, etc.) and some less (we only keep one year’s worth of bills, unless we’re claiming it on our taxes). Once your tax year is complete, put all the paper work for that year in a large envelope labeled with the year. Then, when the 7 years pass, shred it. Simple as that. If you’re only keeping one year’s worth of paperwork for a specific file, then as you put the most recent paperwork in the front, remove the last one (which should be a year old now), and shred it. One in, one out.

4. If you can manage it, go paperless. For my husband’s cell phone, we were charged $2 per paper bill – we quickly eliminated that. It will also  help with your paper dilemma. Create a good filing system on your computer and you can store all those bills electronically. No fuss, and no muss. Just remember to open those emails, and back up your computer regularly. I do like the idea of automated payments (especially for those that have difficulty keeping on top of things), but please review your bills – especially credit card bills. You never know when you might be charged erroneously, or spend more than you had intended.

How do you manage paperwork? How often do you file your papers? Have you gone electronic? Why or why not?

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Comments

  1. * Marijke says:

    Great post and very timely during the tax season. I have not filed mine because I receive tax receipts well into April. I have a tendency to pile my papers with an “I’ll get to it later” attitude. Two reasons. I was not happy with my filing system and I could not fit another piece of paper in my filing cabinet. I put off culling my files, because I did not have a shredder. This year I finally purchased one using some money I received for Christmas. I should have done this sooner. Then I used plastic tabs an wrote down different categories i.e. bank, credit card etc. and attached them to hanging file folders. Now it is a lot easier to find the file folder the bill belongs in. The front file is used for tax receipts I receive during the year. I’m still working on my pile, but it is getting smaller. Filing is not longer such a chore.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
    • Thank you for sharing and shredding! It’s so important to guard your personal information, but that shouldn’t be a reason to put off filing. As long as you keep on top of it, it won’t seem so daunting. Thanks again! ~ Liz

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  2. * legionwriter says:

    I hate paper. I’ve gone to scanning and shredding nearly everything at my office.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 7 months ago
    • Thanks Legion 🙂 How often do you shred? Daily or weekly? It must be quite time consuming, right?

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 7 months ago
      • * legionwriter says:

        yes, I LOATHE shredding! I try to do it once a week.

        Posted 5 years, 7 months ago
      • Fair enough 🙂

        Posted 5 years, 7 months ago


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