Win the Paper Battle (Reader Contribution)

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There are so many ways to organize paper — and everything else.  Here is one way with simple steps to win the battle with paper!

Create a Sorting Station

Find a space in your home to sort papers the moment they enter.  It does not need to be in a room or even a desk.  Hang a 3-bin wall pocket on a wall or back of a door, or use 3 letter-size flat boxes on a table.

Label them Now, Later and Pending.

Now is the bin that will be used most. It is your action bin. Anything that needs attention within the next week goes in that bin. Treat it as a living fish that needs daily care.

Later is the bin that paperwork goes into that needs to be filed or tended to at a later time. Nothing urgent goes in that bin.

Pending is the bin that holds any paperwork that is awaiting a response; e.g., a receipt for a possible return.

For a wall pocket you might like, click here.

Sort Papers Daily at the Sorting Station

After bringing the mail or new paperwork into your home, make it a habit to go right to your sorting station to put your paperwork into one of the three bins. Recycle unwanted material in a recycle bin kept near the sorting station. This simple step will remove much of your paper clutter!

For a recycle bin you might like, click here.

Create a Filing System

This is for all paperwork in the Later bin. Using different colored folders for each category of your life is helpful. Examples are blue for finances, green for health. It is important to purchase a filing cabinet or box that works for you. An open filing cart, rather than a closed cabinet, might make filing easier.

For an open filing cart you might like, click here.

[Ed. note: Try this system as is, modify it or use it as a basis to create a different system. The important thing is to use a system that works well for you.]

From Sarah Haines, daughter of client Karen Gibson, with credit to Better Homes & Gardens (January 2012).