i will BE organized

The Journey to Organization. . the Road to a wannabe Cleanie

An Organized Pregnancy Challenge – Week 9 – The Paper System! January 17, 2012

Filed under: Pregnancy,Project — mikailani @ 6:04 am

Hi Everyone! I’ve been busy working on Week 9 Challenge along with other little projects here and there. Considering I didn’t have a truly functional paper system in place, it really did take me about a week working everyday consistently to finish this project.

Overview : In week 9, my task was to create a Paper System – Banish the paper pile up. It’s very easy to let the paper monster to pile up if you let it! Last year, I created a paper system that worked well. However thru the months, I let it ‘go.’ I had papers stacked up everywhere! Since our home is super tiny, I don’t have the space to keep a filing cabinet close to where I receive the mail. I let the ‘to file’ pile stack up till it got overwhelming. I didn’t know what to keep or what to toss. I had boxes of paper I needed to shred.  I’m tired just thinking about it! My goal was for something that worked for me – easy to keep, file & refer to. I also need a system where I can start organizing papers I receive during pregnancy.

Leeds writes

“When your baby arrives, you’ll want every tasks like bill paying and receipt filing to be as easy as they can be. Your time and energy will be needed elsewhere.”

That’s soooo true! Even if I wasn’t expecting, you do need a system that’s works for you. A simple google search leads you to thousands of ways to file and organize paper systems. From filing cabinets, to portable expandable folders, to boxes – the options are endless! I’ve tried a lot of systems, but the key to any organized function, is the ability to keep it up. A good system doesn’t help if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Simplicity is the key. The more difficult and detailed your system is, the harder it is to file and to retrieve.

Currently, I have my long term files set up in a filing cabinet in my daughter’s bedroom. Soon, she’ll be sharing her room with Baby Boy and space would be very limited. As much as I love my filing cabinet, I do find it hard retrieving information. If I need a simple piece of paper, I’d have to go into her room to get it. It’s recommended cleaning out the filing cabinet every year, but I haven’t touched it since. I probably have old insurance policies that I’ll need to shred and other paper alike. For this project, since I already had a filing system going on, I kept it that way. I have a future project in mind that would remove the filing cabinet from the kid’s room and move it somewhere else. I didn’t want to start that project, because I had a lot of commitments this past weekend. I also don’t have much time [or energy] during the weekdays. =p

I’ve got the new filing system scheduled in my calendar for next month! I’ll share my experience then 🙂

Process:

I went thru the whole house & car[s] gathering every piece of paper. It didn’t matter if it was old, new or something urgent. I knew that I’ll sort thru everything by the end of day. I stacked them all up in the dining room table.

Before picture:

Then, I speed eliminated! Anything that was expired, events that past, notes that no longer applied to me, receipts I can no longer need or can’t return – all went to the ‘to shred’ pile or the recycle bin.  While I was speed eliminating, I stacked them up in piles.

Now that everything was categorized, all I had to do was put them back where they belong. Long term files went back into the filing cabinet. Financial paperwork [bills & statements] went into the big red binder. Anything that needed to be done within the week went into either my planner or my ‘Action File System.’

I didn’t have a working system for incoming paperwork – so I went to target to find something that would work. I found a desktop file that holds hanging folders and a few slots in front that can hold my ledger book ‘we’re old school now!’, checkbooks for bill payment and a few envelopes – along with our envelope budget system. So far, it’s working! I have this located near the kitchen table – so all I have to do is bring it out on Bill Payment day and put it back when I’m done. At the end of the month, all bills get filed away in the big red binder. Important papers that need action go in my planner ready for me to . . . act on. lol.

Here’s the desktop system. We have a files for

  • Unpaid Bills
  • Paid Bills
  • Papers to file away [monthly]
  • Kailani’s Folder – kids bring in a lot of paper! She needs her own file. Cleared out [quarterly after her report card comes in]

Here’s a quick glimpse of our filing cabinet. Hopefully by next month – this will be gone & I’ll be working with a new system. I have binders for warranties and manuals. I removed these from the filing cabinet and stored them in Ikea cardbord boxes and stored them in a closet. We rarely ever refer to them & when I need to file something away, I’ll do it at the end of the month! The filing cabinet’s running out of space!!

And that’s how I handled my paper monster. This week your task is also to create a system to hold all baby related information. I’m having a blast working on this Baby Binder & creating spreadsheets for it already! Just gotta print out a few things, attach labels and take pretty pictures and I’ll be ready to share by end of week!

Thanks for stopping by!

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