Stacks of paperwork, junk mail, unread magazines, bills, receipts, paycheck stubs…Even though more and more stuff is going digital, most of us still find ourselves with paperwork and paper trash cluttering our homes and offices. It’s easy for the paperwork to pile up for all kinds of reasons. We are busy, and it’s easy to lay a stack of mail on top of the microwave or kitchen table when we come home from work. We may need that receipt to make a return or that bill for proof of residency. You know how it goes.
Pretty soon, we are drowning in paper and not sure what to throw away, what to keep, or where to store it. It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? To help, we have put together some tips on how to organize, store, and keep up with paperwork around your home or office.
Take care of bills and banking online
The best way to avoid paper clutter is to not have it to begin with! By doing financial stuff online, you can access it any time. If you want to keep the information, just save them to your computer’s hard drive. Make a desktop folder to easily find stuff, and if you need to print out a statement or bill, it’s right there.
Keep the important stuff in a binder
Invest in some sheet protectors with the binder holes in the side, and you can keep all your important papers in one place. If you have a lot, get some dividers with tabs to make it even easier. If you need to find paperwork in a hurry, you will have almost immediate access. For added security, keep the binder in a fire safe if disaster strikes. Papers to keep in this binder include:
- Birth Certificates and Social Security Cards
- Insurance Policies
- Titles and Deeds
- Tax Information including W-2s, 1098s, etc
- Copies of wills
Keep a simple filing system for receipts
How often do we need to return something only to realize we can’t find the receipt? Or we go to clean out a purse or bag and there are receipts from 2014 in there? Because many stores now have 90-day return policies or allow returns if you bought something and the price drops, keeping receipts easy to find is important. A small, accordion-style folder works wonders and will fit in a purse pretty easily. I like to organize mine monthly, that way when I fill up the file, I just throw away the oldest receipts, but find a method that works for you.
Toss Junk Immediately
This is the easiest to say and the hardest to do. It’s easy to put fliers, kids’ school papers, and catalogs to the side when you’re busy, but it stacks up quick! Before it even hits the counter or table, sort through it. Toss anything you know you don’t need straight into the trash can. You know you don’t need the weekly ad to Tractor Supply Store.
Clutter and paperwork stacks can seem daunting. However, disorganization can actually cause stress, especially when you can’t find something you need, or you have to clean up in a hurry! However, with these simple, inexpensive tips, you can take control of the paper!