Why so much paper?
It’s so frustrating that every week, there’s a ugly pile of paper stuff in my paper bin that needs to be filed away. This “paper stuff” include bills, mails, notes and random clippings that are begging to be organized. My learning from Marie Kondo is that I need to keep my paper stuff at a minimum but they grow like weeds! Every time I finish discarding and filing the important stuff, within a week, I have a new pile build up. This is a serious paper-creeping situation. I desperately need a paper organization “system” to eliminate, if not, reduce the amount of paper I have to deal with.
One of the biggest paper culprits for me is the receipts (as you can see from the picture below). In order to track my spendings, I collect receipts that come from cash purchases. For credit card purchases, I just wait for the monthly balance to track my spendings. I thought of using some kind of application to track my cash purchases, where you can take a picture of your receipt with your phone and it will recognize the amount and type of spending but that just seems like another habit I have to develop and merge with my monthly bank balance. Just doesn’t seem like the simplest solution.
After many attempts to keep paper stuff under control, I came realize, the best method is to create a system that requires the least amount of effort to upkeep. This new paper filing system I created for myself (in “after” photo above) is the result of numerous experiments. All my paper stuff go through this filing system, if they don’t belong here, they go straight to the recycling bin! In a way, this filing system is like my gate keeper, it makes sure I don’t accumulate unnecessary paper clutter. So how do you create a system that works for you? Here are my 7 tips to organizing your paper stuff:
7 Tips to organizing paper stuff
1. Keep everything in one place
Store all paper stuff in one dedicated location so it’s easily accessible.
2. Make adjustments to your paper organization system and purge regularly
Change category labels or folder sizes as you develop your own filing method. Recycle the unnecessary paper on a regular basis (every 2 weeks).
3. Simplify your organization method
Use general category labels to keep similar items together instead of having many specific categories.
4. Have a miscellaneous category
Keep items that don’t belong to the existing filing system here so you can sort them out later.
5. Add personal flair
Color code each category to make things easier to sort and/or use stickers and patterned paper that reflect your personal style. For this printable, I created 3 patterns for you to choose from! They are FREE when you sign up to Sprinkles Letter! You will have access to our FREE Digital Library with an assortment of freebies!
6. Digitalize items that you need to keep for long term
Scanning and digital filing takes time, so only select the real important paper documents to be scanned.
7. Organize your digital folders with a detailed and consistent naming system
Name your files with clear titles and dates. This will help tremendously later when you need to find the file. For example, I like to name my files in this order subject_company_purpose_yyyymmdd (ie. “Receipt_KP_HealthCheckup_20190808.jpg”. And this file would be under the folder called “Medical and Dental”) . Here are some additional tips to declutter your mobile device.
So whatever filing containers you currently have, simply make some labels and organize away! I created my own dividers with thick card stock paper that would fit in my existing basket. Whatever you use, keep it simple!
More organizational labels you will love!
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