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Organizing The Paper Clutter

This is one of the BIG things I have to do over the next 3 months or so. We have a ridiculous amount of loose paper around our house.

This paper onslaught comes from several sources:

  • Work papers
    • Paycheck stubs, communiques from our benefits department, receipts
  • Related to professional activities
    • PD (professional development)
    • Continuing coursework and CEUs
    • Mailing list items, catalogs, random CD/DVDs
    • PTRA - we provide workshops for teachers - this will continue even after retirement
  • Student work - this will be less of a problem, as I will no longer be generating these. But, Den still has responsibilities to maintain records and grade papers
  • Financial
    • Bills
    • Financial investments
    • Banking statements
    • Refunds in process, warranties
    • Taxes
  • Hobby/Church
    • Radio and electronics (me) - I recently built a workbench in the attic, and will be moving most, if not all, of my gear to that space
    • Magazines, mailing offers
    • Church bulletins, Catechist paperwork and materials, reference materials
  • Medical
    • This is getting to be more important over time
    • Medicare, health plans, explanations of bills
    • Medical records
  • Business-related
    • We run two businesses together (one with consumer products, the other providing legal services)
    • Writing (me) - I will be upping my involvement in this area, and need to organize this before it becomes too out of control
Wow! Until now, I hadn't realized just how fragmented and complicated our lives had become. And, that's just the paper.

Some good things I've already done.
  • Daily organization
    • I use a Franklin Planner, and it is getting a workout lately
    • I organize papers by a daily folder system - M-F. Each day's papers go into a colored plastic folder. Hopefully, each day, paper is either dealt with, or moved to another day's folder.
  • In-sight organization
    • I use wall-mounted plastic pockets to hold paper that is needed regularly or for a long term project.
    • Wall calendar - erasable, located in office for easy reference.
    • Bill sorter (I do have to clear this out and start again this week).
  • Organization of repeating tasks on a weekly basis.
  • Automation of bill-paying when possible. I'll be adding more in the future, such as setting up budget billing for utilities.
My goal is to have this under control by the end of June, at the latest. I'll post progress as I make it. I'll be taking pictures of the before and after (I WON'T be posting the before until I have an after - too depressing to immortalize the mess without being able to bask in the glory of having corrected it).

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