How We Eliminate Paper Clutter

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm not an organized person by nature. Thank God I marry one. I remember the first big fight we had after we got married was over a messy desk. Chris can't function when the place is not in order while I didn't see the need to clean up when I was still working on something. I came a long way since then. Throughout the years of our marriage, I learn how to plan and organize my life, time, and resources.  The one book that I found to be very helpful is 
 Order from Chaos: A Six-Step Plan for Organizing Yourself, Your Office, and Your Life. I wrote a review/ summary about the book a little while ago here.

Anyway, last week The Simplemom Project Simplify Hot Spot#2 was Paper Clutter (junk mails, books, magazine, documents, etc...)  so I look around the house and below are the result. 

We had these two (one for Chris and one for me) Dumping Bins: filled with paper docs that need to be put away: 

I decided it's time to tackle the piles and eliminate one bin since I'm the one who handle paper filing anyway.

That's all the paper clutter that I found. We just happened to file and clean up our tax and financial documents earlier this month.  The IRS only requires us to keep tax docs for 3 years (unless the persons cheat on their income then the IRS can go back up to 7 years) - so that's what we do. However, we keep other important financial docs such as retirement, investment, and home buying stuff. Below is how we keep our tax docs:

We keep our receipts inside these clear plastic folders until I update them on Quicken every month or so:

I tackle the mails when they come in; either file or throw them away. Any bills or items that required action later goes into Pending File below

Afterward, each document goes into their appropriate folder. I learn how to organize my financial docs from this book. I wrote a blog post about this a while ago here

And below is how I organize all my recipes: inside a clear file folder. I just pull out the appropriate page whenever I need to cook/ bake something:

We have book shelves to hold most of our books but I keep my reference books close by the place where I use them. For instance: I have this little pile of recipe books, Bible, and journal in the dining room: 

I got asked often how I find time to read book. The picture below should give you the answer =)

And here is Max's pile of books down stair: 

As soon as I took the above pics, Max immediately come to me asking me to take the picture of his Thomas book as well.

That's it. Hope you find this to be helpful.