Before I could even begin to sit down to work this morning I needed to clear the excess paper off my desk and credenza. I thought the computer was supposed to lead to a paperless society but you couldn't tell that from my office. I don't seem to be able to trust that I will be able to find something I wanted to reference if I leave it on cyberspace, recipes and property lists are some much easier to work with when they are printed out. People send me stuff that I want to look at later. You know the drill, sooner or later it ends up on my desk and then I can't find anything.
So I consulted the Oracle Google and came up with a great post on organizing paperwork, or as they call it paper clutter.
Here are some of my favorites:
Consolidate with Binders
I have separate binders for marketing ideas, recipes, ideas and inspiration and a planner. These binders make it easy for me to either 3 hole punch papers and put them in the appropiate place or use plastic sleeves. My inspiration and ideas binder has been a great tool for slimming down my magazine collection, if there is something I want to save I tear the page out and put it in the binder, usually there are no more than 5 or 10 ideas in a magazine and I get to recycle the rest.
Make a Date with Paper
Even with the best of intentions things are going to get out of control so schedule a time as often as you need, once a month or once a week to clear off your desk and other surfaces. Put this on your schedule and or time block and stick to it. You would be amazed at how much easier it is to get things done if your work surfaces are clear.
Skip Junk Mail
Send a letter that includes all of the names and spellings of names your household receives junk mail under to Mail Preference Center/DMA ATTN: Dept. 9407644 P.O. Box 643 Carmel, N.Y. 10512 or call them on 212-768-7277 and ask to be removed from mailing lists.
Make a Plan for Kids Homework and Art Work
Pick one of these solutions, set up a gallery in the kids' room or playroom like this wire system shown below and let the kids decide what they want to keep.
Scan the artwork and schoolwork each month and make digital scrapbooks for them.
Save the paperwork for a month and at the end of each month sit down with each child and decide on the one piece they want to keep and put it into a scrap book.
Use Color Coded Accordion Files and Files for Each Family Member
Get inexpensive accordion files and some file folders to match and sort papers into the appropriate slots as soon as the paper arrives. For instance, you can have one file for bills and finances with files like to pay, paid, taxes and to read. Each piece of mail gets dropped into the appropriate file as soon as it comes into the house. This would also work for your kids, you can have files for permission slips, homework, lunch menus, sports schedules, etc.