New Year’s Resolutions: Organize those piles of papers


Ever walk into someone’s home and instantly begin to have heart palpitations due to the overwhelming amount of crap and random unidentifiable odors? Ever notice that the majority is often random piles of paper, what is up with that? Unfortunately you can’t even light a scented candle to get rid of the stench due to the fear of an instant inferno. So, what to do?

I thought I might start off this post with some alarming statistics regarding mail, particularly junk mail.

The book 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth listed stopping unwanted junk mail as its number 2 recommendation. Some interesting junk mail statistics from the book include:

•Each year, 100 million trees are used to produce junk mail

•250,000 homes could be heated with one day’s supply of junk mail

•Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year.

Advertising by third class parties, you know those various envelopes addressed to “occupant” or “resident” that usually accumulates somewhere in your home?  You know the pile that you so unconventionally distinguish as the “I will get to this later pile”.  Breaking News…this just in.. IT IS LATER.

As mail enters your home it is very important that you send it on its necessary route. Your home is not the final destination, it is merely a layover.  There are three possible destinations for each and every piece of mail that comes into your home.

Those three routes are:

• In a designated file in an accordion folder.

• In the recycling bin

• Or, off to the shredder.

 

Accordion Folder

The accordion folder is a very important destination and is the main hub for all mail that will be kept in the home.  If you do not already have an accordion folder I would recommend you purchase one at your earliest convenience.  When purchasing your folder look for one that is visually appealing to your eye, just because it is a means for getting organized does not mean it needs to be dull or boring.  As an Interior Designer I would highly recommend purchasing organizational items that speak to your personal style.  When you select organizational supplies that are aesthetically pleasing not only are they functional but they can also add to the décor of your space.  I shopped around for the perfect accordion folder that would complement the décor in my kitchen (see image), which brings up another important point, location. The accordion folder needs to be located near your front door.  This could be a room adjacent to your entryway or in short walking distance.                          

Source: Franklin Covey

If you keep the folder a far distance from the entryway, say for example, upstairs the chances that you will run upstairs each time the mail arrives are slim.  However if the folder is in close proximity the task is much more convenient. So, once you have decided on a stylish design for your accordion folder and determined where you would like to place the folder the next step is labeling the folders. 

When it comes to labeling your folders you will need to determine what works best for you however, I highly recommend the following:

•To be paid

•Paid

•Coupons

•Tax

•Menus

•Happenings

•Shredder

 

To be paid: Means just that, these are items that require payment.  These include, gas, electric, utility, cable, car insurance, auto loans, mortgage, medical, credit card bills, etc.  I then look through the folder every two weeks, which is when we get paid, but again, you can adjust this to accommodate your personal schedule.  I pay the necessary bills bi-weekly and then place the statements in the paid file.

Paid: Documents that should be filed away in the paid file include credit cards, mortgage, auto, bank loans, and medical bills and/or statements that have been paid.  Once the file has become rather thick, usually every other month or so, I go upstairs to our office and file away the documents for future record. The documents are placed in a filing cabinet with files labeled accordingly.  This way if there is ever any discrepancy regarding an account in the future you can effortlessly locate the document in questions.

Shredder: This folder is for documents that do not need to be filed away for future referencing.  This includes credit card applications or any documents that may contain any personal information, in particular your account number and/or social security number.

Tax: Throughout the year we donate to various charities and this is where I place receipts and/or documentation.  This folder is also nice to have when the first of the year rolls around and documents that are required to complete your taxes start coming in the mail.  When this happens simply place W2s, mortgage info, charity, loan, etc. directly into the folder then you have all the necessary information in one handy location.

Menus:  Let’s face it, mom needs a break from meal preparation every now and again, and when a sitter watches the children, take out, or, delivery is inevitable.  As menus come into your home simply place them into this folder.  It is so convenient to just sit out the folder when a babysitter arrives.  All the local options are right there at their fingertips.

Happenings:  This folder contains the Art Museums’, Zoo’s, Park’s, Library’s, and any additional happenings around town flyers, readers, and brochures.  Happenings folder is a great folder to reference when planning future outings with the children.  Again, the convenience of having all the information in one folder makes planning an outing effortless.  Now the only dilemma is narrowing down your selections.

Coupons: This folder is where you can place all your coupons.  We have coupons for, future oil changes, makeup, grocery store, children’s stores, manufacturer coupon’s, etc. While I try my best to save every coupon that comes into our home I have not yet mastered the extreme couponing. Unfortunately I am not the mom who goes to the grocery store and ends with a grand total of $500 but only pays $10.

Thanks to my many coupons, perhaps one day? This folder, like the others does require some maintenance.  I usually file through this folder bi-monthly and recycle the expired coupons.

The Recycling bin

All junk mail or envelopes addressed to “resident” or “occupant”, leaflets, pamphlets, brochures, notices, catalogues, and etc. can head right to the recycling bin.  Don’t think twice; don’t put it down to look through later because that is how those annoying piles got started in the first place.

Shredder

As expressed earlier, all documents that may contain your account number or personal information should be shredded.  Identity theft is real, and although, the chances of having your identity stolen by someone rifling through your trash is slim there is still a chance and it is a chance that you should not take.

Added tidbit:

To remove your name from prescreened offers such as credit and insurance offers you have two options.

Option #1 -To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.

Option #2- To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at http://www.optoutprescreeen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request. Please note, you will be asked to provide certain personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.

If you don’t have access to the Internet, you may send a written request to permanently opt out to each of the major consumer reporting companies. Make sure your request includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Experian

Opt OutP.O. Box 919

Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion

Name Removal Option

P.O. Box 505 Woodlyn, PA 19094

Equifax, Inc.Options

P.O. Box 740123

Atlanta, GA 30374

Innovis Consumer Assistance

P.O. Box 495

Pittsburgh, PA 15230

 

So, what is your organizing problem area?

Categories: Uncategorized

You're off to great places! But do keep in touch!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go. And when you get there take us with you!

One Comment on “New Year’s Resolutions: Organize those piles of papers”

  1. January 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    We have a basket to put important papers in. But having a file folder would mean we wouldn’t have to take time later to file them in the rights spots in the file cabinet; I would just have to transfer them. Wonderful! Wish I thought of that before!

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