Sunday, October 15, 2006

Organizing Papers

Paperwork is one of my worst things. When I need to put my hands on social security cards, receipts, birth certificates, or my business license, it is always a stressful search for a needle in a haystack.

I started out filing back when we first got married, but somewhere along the way it fell by the wayside and for a long time now it has been really really out of control. Now that I have my businesses getting busier all the time, the paperwork issue has been creeping up on me more often. I found myself stressed out and slowed down every time I needed some paper that I wasn't sure where it was. I have had "filing" listed in my "Plagues and Nuisances" list for months, but haven't made any progress on it until the other day.

Then I went to visit Very Mom and there she was, talking about the same thing. She had found a filing system called Just Organize Your Stuff (JOYS) and she has some pictures up showing her progress through conquering her papers.

Some of the things that appealed to me about this system:

The idea that all I needed to do to start was break down my big piles of papers into smaller categories, and then work on them one by one. This is much better for me than taking out each individual paper and putting it away (if I even HAVE a place to put it away!).

I like the way the papers are located in different places according to your need and their importance:

-the everyday file is an open-topped file that would be in plain view. Here is where you will put and find the stuff you have coming and going day in and day out (receipts, bills, etc.) (I love it that this makes putting stuff where it goes much, much easier)

-the reference file would go in the top drawer of a 2-drawer file cabinet. This is for the stuff that you would look at sometimes and want to have handy (like your refrigerator manual) but don't need to see every day.

-the important papers file is in the bottom drawer of your file cabinet, and this drawer should lock. Obviously, it's for your imortant papers that you don't want to lose!

-Vital files (birth certifs, soc security cards, deed to your house, marriage license, etc.) go in a fire proof box so they stay very, very safe.

This is so logical and is much better than what I was doing even when I was filing.

The other night I took a laundry basket full of papers plus several other containers and piles and sorted them into their categories. I did this while watching a movie and it was painless. (I also threw away a garbage bag full of papers I no longer need!) Now I need another movie night so I can work on each category. Tomorrow the kids head back to school so I will have some time coming up soon.

1 comment:

Aileen C. said...

oooh!! Thanks for posting this. This is definitely on my to do list. My sister is moving in with me and I think this would be a great thing to do with her...sitting, watching a movie and going through papers. She's a little more focused on organization right now than I since she doesn't have any kids!!LOL!! Thanks again so much!!