When the time to organize papers comes, you love to put it off until the weekend. And that weekend never seems to happen. But papers can make your home feel more cluttered than it is which is why you must prioritize organizing all your papers. You can take the following step by step approach to tackling all papers in your home.
Step 1: Gather and categorize to organize papers
You need a clear room before you begin this step because it is all about sorting. You need to first find all the papers that are present in your house. Think thoroughly before you start because papers are going to be in a lot of places. Start with your living room and then go around the house looking for even the tiniest receipt. Get your hands on every single paper you can and store all the papers you have in one of the rooms. Depending on how many papers you find, you can keep them in a basket or a container if that is better than leaving them on the ground at present.
You need four different areas for four different categories. You can use four containers for this or four big baskets so that you can sort with ease. You can label each as follows; ‘Family and household,’ ‘Financial,’ ‘Memorabilia,’ and ‘Other.’ You can keep all family and household related papers such as travel information, invitations, reference materials, etc. in the first box. You can keep all the financial matters papers such as loans, mortgages, taxes related papers in that box. Memorabilia will contain all the papers that do not require to take action such as past wedding invitations you received etc. Everything else can be placed in the fourth box.
Step 2: Divide to organize papers effectively
It is a good idea to ensure that you have time at hand so that you can start the actual sorting of all the papers that you have. You can play music so that you can relax and tackle the paper problem. In this step, you need to divide the three main categories further into smaller sub-categories. How you sub-categorize depends on the number of papers that you have for each. However, it is still a good idea to go through every single paper that you have and to divide and then sub-categorize it for further clarification about what action is appropriate for that specific paper. You should ideally do this regardless of how many papers you have.
It will be in your best interest that as you pile and sub-divide, you can write down what you are placing where. For example, you can have a notebook where you write the category and the sub-category. You can have short names for them which comprise of three letters or less. You can write a short name and what they denote. Then you can label the divided piles so that you know what they mean. This will make your division task more manageable, and you will see what you are placing in which pile. The labeling saves you time.
Step 3: Divide further organize papers.
The next step is similar to the previous step, but you are required to divide further the piles of papers that you have. This will ensure that you have comparatively smaller piles of papers to deal with and to sort in the next step. The reason why this step is important is that you will be able to see exactly what type of papers you have and whether they even matter to you at present or not. Moreover, this step makes it easy for you to arrange your piles of papers that you have so that you are clear in your mind about all the papers that you have with you.
A fantastic way to arrange papers in this manner is to arrange them chronologically. For example, let us say that you have bills. You can divide them into paid bills and unpaid bills. This will give you clarity about which bills you are required to pay and which ones you no longer have to worry about. If you have these two categories together, then it will only lead to confusion because you will have to go through the paid bills and the unpaid bills. This is why this step is of high importance. You can divide any sub-category as much as possible for ease of filing.
Step 4: Time to sort to organize papers effectively
When you are done with dividing, it is time to sort and store all your papers. How much do you use the papers that you have? Are the papers regularly used? Or were you surprised by the papers that you found because you forgot about them? When you are sorting your papers, it is a good idea to do so according to how frequently you use the papers. If you keep everything together, you will take hours to find what you need. Even though we have moved to the digital age, there is still a lot of paper that almost all individuals have to deal with in their lives. This is why you must spend the time to think about the frequency of usage.
You can have the following levels of storage; immediate use, often uses, occasional use, and rare use. The examples of immediate use papers are your planner, to-do lists, and contact numbers. The examples of often use papers are your electricity bills, bank statements, and other bills of your home. Occasional use papers include papers that you refer to one or a maximum of twice every year, but you do not refer to it on a monthly basis. The rare use papers are those that are rarely used, and maybe you do not even refer to them more than once a year.
Step 5: Filing papers to organize papers for easy retrieval
When you are ready to file your papers, you need to do so by first planning how you are going to file them. You want your papers to be easily accessible to you. You can make use of file cabinets or crates to file papers. Depending on the number of papers that are in each of the categories, you can think of which type of box or cabinet is suitable for each set of papers. You can use color coding and use different colored folders for distinguishing between the various categories of papers that you had sorted out earlier. This will make retrieval easier.
When you have small sized papers, you should store them properly as well because you don’t want to lose those either. When a folder becomes too thick, it is a good idea to get another folder or to divide the folder into sub-categories. For example, if you keep manuals of how to use a specific kitchen appliance, then you can keep a separate folder for that if the manual is thick. Otherwise, you can store the kitchen appliances manuals together for quick retrieval whenever you need them. This will make your life easier.
Now that you know how to organize papers effectively, it is time to get started to organize all the papers you have in your home. This will save you lots of frustration and time whenever you require any of the papers that you have.