Conquer the Household Mail and Paper Demon
Households are bombarded with paper on a daily basis. Bills, statem
ents, pay stubs, calendars, schedules, menus and permission slips s
eem innocent enough individually, but when joined with the other pi
les of unattended paperwork, they can form an army that overwhelms
even the best defenses. But you shouldn't feel defenseless against
this persistent warrior. With an organized plan of attack and som
e disciplined strategy, the paperwork enemy can be conquered and ta
First of all, take a look at the type of paperwork that's overwhelming
you the most. Is it those bills that go unpaid when you can't locate
them? Is it the mounds of artwork your children have lovingly create
d and decorated your refrigerator with? Maybe it's the constantly cha
nging soccer schedule or troop meetings.
Once you determined the most invasive paper culprit or culprits, it'
s time to line them up and sort them out. A successful filling syst
em has three main components. A file for those things that need to
be acted on immediately, one for those tha are part of a household'
s ongoing management, and one for those that are more infrequent but
nevertheless crucial, such as tax records, insurance policies, will
s, and home maintenance documents.
When conquering the paperwork onster, make a promise to yourself to d
eal with each item the first time you handle it. Get out of the habit
of rifling through your mail and tossing it aside. Set aside time ea
ch day to open mail, go thrugh paperwork in your inbox and sort and f
ile appropriately. Decide if each item is something to be paid, somet
hing to be done, or something to be filed. At the end of each week, ta
ke out each file and respond appropriately by paying the bill, respond
ing to the request, or moving items that need to be filed into their p
ermanent locations. Of course, if you know something is urgent and ca
n't wait until week's end, clip it to the front of your file box or pl