If you struggle to find your important documents it's time to do something about it. Image source: freedigitalphotos.net By africa.
Despite the digital age somehow our homes are still bogged down with paperwork. Mail, letters, bills, pamphlets, newspapers, statements, newsletters etc, the list goes on and on. Most of the time we can simply throw it into a drawer or hide it in a cupboard perhaps even pack it away. Which at the time seems innocent kind of the out of sight out of mind thing. Then comes the day that you need to do the dreaded tax, change banks, apply for a new loan or change insurance companies and suddenly you need to find that letter that was sent out to you months ago, that credit card statement, your tax file number, birth certificate, marriage certificate and so on. Oh no, now what do you do? Whoops you have no idea where that letter is because at the time it arrived it wasn't of interest to you. So you shoved it away for a rainy day. Now that day has arrived, queue mad scrabble of looking through every nook and crany of your home until it resembles a place that was just robbed!
Not fun is it? Which is why I wanted to share with you ideas on how to limit the paperwork you need in your home, to organise the paperwork you do need to keep, how to safely get rid of what you don't and to be paying things on time and be able to find what you need without the mad scrabble. That would be great wouldn't it so please read on:
Important paperwork, statements and bills: Things like tax papers, super information, pay checks, marriage certificate, birth certificate etc. These things need to be kept often for a very long time. Also things like statements, bills and account details.
create a filing system. Buy a small filing cabinet new or even secondhand. You don't need to spend a lot of money look for one online or at places like Kmart, Big W or Target. If you cannot fit one buy one of those expandable files in the stationary sections of stores or a storage box that fits folders upright. Even a large binder folder with plastic sleeves would work. These are very cheap and can work just as well.
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net. By ddpavumba
Label folders to make different sections. Have a tax folder, a medical folder, a car folder, a house folder, a finance folder etc, you get the idea. Go through all the paperwork in your home and put them into these piles. Not a fun job I know but you should only have to do it once.
Colour code different folders for different people or different things. Each person can then know their colour to easily find their things. In my family we have a filing cabinet draw to ourselves, same idea just do what suits you and your family.
Attach things together using a stapler or paper clip. This really works well for your pay checks and receipts.
Consider saving these things on your computer. Go paperless with whatever you can have bills, statements and letters emailed to you then save them in a folder for safe keeping and easy finding. For the paperwork you already have at home scan it into the computer then save it.
Bills and other pending statements: The rates, water bills, school fees, insurance fees, electricity bills. The things that are ongoing and will need to be acted on or paid in the near future.
Here is a great tip: you only need the current pending bill and your previous one get rid of the rest! Who needs their electricity bill from two years ago, no one.
Display them in a prominent place. Put them up on a noticeboard, on your fridge or inside a large cupboard door. Pin them or blue tak them. These should only be the ones that are current and that are due to be paid next. Perhaps even highlight the due date and add it to your calendar. No more late fees.
Set up direct debit or automatic payments where possible. Less paperwork and you don't need to remember to do it. If you can't do these things or you don't want to try at least having them emailed to you then put the date in your calendar.
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net. By Stuart Miles.
Pamphlets/ catalogues, advertising materials, newspapers and magazines:
As soon as you bring in the pamhlets/ advertising material from your mailbox look through it. If you have no interest in it put it straight into your recycling. If you wish to look do this ASAP or put it on your dining room table or coffee table to browse through later. You could even put it beside your toilet to read later or your beside table. It's up to you aim for a place where you won't forget it.
Save just the things you are really interested in. Say one of your favourite stores has sent out a catalogue advertising a sale. Just cut out the items you wish to buy or look, write the name of the store on it and the sale dates and recycle the rest. Keep these on a noticeboard, on your fridge, in your wallet or diary. Throw them out once the sale is over.
What about all the paperwork you no longer need:
For or the paperwork that doesn't contain personal information you can simply use the back as scrap paper or cut it up and staple it together to make a great shopping list notebook. You could also just recycle it.
If it contains any personal information, names, addresses or numbers then don't just throw them in the bin they need to be shredded or you could just cut into little pieces. Shredders can be bought for a cheap price try online or sometimes even the supermarkets might have them. For extra safety put different sections into different rubbish bins.
Your paper overload should be solved! What do you do with your paperwork at home?