Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paper, paper and still more paper

If you're ever going to keep up with all the paper in your life, you have to decide on a system and keep tweaking it.

You can read about how to deal with mail clutter and decide if that system will work for you, or if you need to make slight adjustments.

I'll talk more about actual filing in later posts but before I do, I like to go back a step.

1. Examine the sources of all the paper in your life. Write them all down.

  • Magazines
  • Mail
  • Printing emails
  • Notes from school
  • _________
  • _________
  • _________

2. See where you can eliminate or reduce the flow of paper into your life.

  • If you get accounts by email and in the mail, email the company and stop the mail.
  • If you and two friends read the same magazine, buy one every 3 months and pass it around.
  • Sign notes from school immediately and send back the next day. Don't leavethem on your counter a minute longer than you have to.

3. Decide on your comfort level for accounts/ filing

  • I only keep 3 months' worth of statements except for our water and electricity bills and that's because it is a crazy nightmare dealing with Joburg Connect to get queries sorted out. There are MANY great things about South Africa; that's not one of them :)
  • I have one place in my study for "things to file". Since I don't keep a lot of paper, my comfort level went from once a week (about 18 months ago) to once every 3 - 4 weeks. I can still get through that pile in less than 10 minutes so it does work for me.

Your turn. What are your good ideas on dealing with paper?

7 easy steps to organise your office


Anonymous said...

I come back in the house from checking the mail through the garage-where our recycling bins are! Junk mail goes directly in there and never in the house!

HDMac said...

With a PO Box, the one thing I do now is pitch all junk mail at the post office. Sometimes, it is a struggle with some catalogs... but I have learned to pitch the most of them now and the ones that I keep I am not leaving around for long.

Paper Paper! We sure can collect it. Appreciate your help here and am anxious to get a system into place that works for us!

Thanks, Marcia!!

The Proverbs Wife said...

You should see my desk. I hate that we have so much paper waste in this country. Oooh...the amount of paper I get home from the children's school is just outrageous. I hope that I can implement some of your tips.Thanks for the motivation boost.

Mom2fur said...

One of my favorite ways of dealing with mail when it comes in came from one of those TV shows about getting organized. Remember this: F.A.T. File-Act-Toss. Those are the three steps you'd take with any piece of mail. File it away if you need to keep it, Act on it (like signing those school papers or paying a bill) and Toss, which is obvious.
But you don't just toss junk mail. First, you should shred anything someone might use for fraudulent purposes, like credit card applications. And don't forget to toss all those stupid inserts they insist on adding to your bills!

Anonymous said...

Hello Marcia! I'm still working on my paper pile, and I'm impressed that you get all your filing done in just 10 minutes a month!

Anonymous said...

I deal with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection quite often and you would not BELIEVE how much paper they waste! Every bid is at least 8-9 pages long. Every contract is twice that and of course they need at least 2-3 copies. It is unbelievable.