I am amazed at how many credit card offers I get in one day. Coupled with insurance renewals, cell phone deals, and all the other crap that lands in my mailbox, it can be extremely overwhelming. I would find myself moving papers from place to place in my home because I felt weary just looking at them. I would gather them all on one place and throw them in my file cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind? Ugh. The future me clearly was not consulted in this though process. When I needed my passport to travel out of the country (!) the mountain of unwanted papers were hiding what I needed. This had to stop.
Does this sound familiar? I have a solution.
The first step is to get a new bin with a lid that to put in a high traffic area in your home. Something that can be kind of tucked away, but isn’t too small. If you are anything like me, a bright color will not make you feel stabby. Now head to that file cabinet (or desk, or table… no judgement here. Could be all three) and dump all of the papers that have accumulated in this bin. Deep breath. Do not pre-sort. This is a trap not to get caught in right now.
Next, go to the dollar twenty-five tree and get three garbage pails with no lids, one file folder, one basket to stack papers in flat, and a sharpie. This is the new organization system for your home. Write on the first pail RECYCLE, the second will be SHRED, and the final will be FILE ( I am assuming you have a trash bin in this space. If not, please get a fourth can for trash). Line the cans up near your new bin and admire how well you have prepared for this job and celebrate your success.
Now, decide when your sorting time will be. It might be while watching TV or right after dinner. But designate a time- at the minimum once a week- to sort one file folder worth of papers. The flat basket is for paper that need attention, and the other pails are pretty self-explanatory. Do more if it feels good, but do no less that one file folder a sitting. Empty the pails you can at the end of each session. Do you feel relief? Do not worry about how long the project is going to take or how long you waited to set up this system. What matters is NOW. Celebrate that your home office organization is happening now. You’re a badass! Yes, you!!
When the large bin is empty, what should be left is a FILE pail, and a basket of papers that need attention. The pails can now be moved next to the desk and used as the mail arrives. This is now a familiar system to you and should honestly take less than a minute to do daily or twice a week. Place the “needs attention” bin on the desk, and let yourself feel excited that everything has a home and your journey to being organized in your home office is halfway complete.
The second stage of this process is a bit harder, not gonna lie. The designated time for your home office organization will now be filing important papers and taking action on the papers and accounts that need it. Do the filing one file folder at a time, because you know it works. This can be scary, but it is also liberating. How exciting to be taking control of your business life and making sure your important information is secure. You are on track. If calls need to be made, try to do one or two a week until the pile is gone. How satisfying!
Finally, once all of the paperwork around your home has been sorted, filed and attended to, the system will be reduced sorting the mail as it comes in. Then action and filing only happens weekly. In many instances monthly statements can be scanned to the computer or can go paperless to stop the influx of paper all together. Often companies will give discounts for going paperless. How’s that for a win/win? If a better filing system is needed, it is absolutely stunning how many options there are and how beautiful they are. Remember to start simple and celebrate every single victory along the way.
If you have downsizing/organizing needs in the Eugene Oregon area CONTACT me.