What do you do with all your paperwork? I'm drowning in it!(47 Posts)
I'm on a declutter mission at the moment and have done quite well this week.
I'm now trying to sort out mountains of paperwork and just not sure how to deal with it. We have a table by the front door that gets covered in school letters and post. Then we have a kitchen table and a sideboard that are covered in all sorts of paperwork. I do have a filing cupboard for all important docs, bills, medical stuff etc. so that's all ok but it's the odd things I just don't know what to do with.
For example tonight I found receipts, school letters, thank you cards, opticians reminder, stuff that needs actioning, stuff that needs reading and so on.
We have a small house with two children and lots of toys so any ideas what I should do with all this to keep it tidy?
It's overwhelming me now, I feel so disorganised!
Many thanks for any suggestions
kickass - I would think what you need the paperwork for in a couple of weeks. Some of it is unavoidable, like the guy who services our burglar alarm sends the paperwork out before he comes round, then fills it in when he's here. Thus meaning I have to try and keep track of it instead of him! <curse you, alarm man>
I keep some of this stuff on the fridge in a magnetic clip, but really I think it should go into my rolling file, where anything older than 3 months get binned.
Anything where the paper itself isn't important: take a photo and dump. Use a digital camera if need be!
dh is scanning loads of it and storing it, but we live in the US, so have to have paper copies of things for both UK & US tax returns. Plus DH has somehow managed to have a pension with every scheme that ever went wrong - miss sold personal pension, companies that went bust, his employer doing dodgy non-payment then 'making it up' with funds later. He has a ridiculous amount of folders full of the stuff.
I just want to get all my money and all my papers into ONE box, and stuff it under my bed. Sick of bank statements, tax returns, pensions figures etc etc, which we have to keep for about a gazillion years in case we get audited for tax.
One day, it will all be stored on a chip in your left ear lobe, and doing your taxes will just mean walking past a scanner and paying enough money to buy a kidney.
Sure - keeping paper for tax returns is one of the burdens. But this falls into the category of content is more useful than actual paper. I find if I try to devise a more sophisticated filing system I am less likely actually to file anything at all, which is why I now try and keep it as simple as possible. This means there would be more work to do to assemble the relevant bits of paper if we were audited but the chances are not high (DH pays about £13 a year in tax - that is not a typo! I would pay HMRC £20 to avoid doing the return!).
So I would focus on streamlining. The paper needs to be kept. It doesn't need to be curated in-depth. One folder or box per year, tossed after 7 years?
I would love to do that - dh is the kind who has a perfect, highly complex system, but then only gets round to doing stuff about once a year. So I am taking over. I will be throwing out a LOT of things, and he can then grab a file to scan when he
gets off his arse has time.
Then I will know where everything is, and can just deal with it asap.
now I just need to teach dd how to be tidy ...
This is my problem with high complex systems. It may mean you can find any paper within 5 seconds but only for the stuff you have managed to force into the system. I prefer something that takes a bit more work if and when you need to find a particular piece of paper but is low maintenance the rest of the time.
I have one of these for all my actionable paperwork or anything that I think I might need soon, or indeed anything that I don't know quite what to do with (eg a newsletter which I may need to refer to)! I have it on the wall above the desk in my office, but it can go anywhere convenient really as it hardly takes up any space. You could label each of the tiers if you want but I haven't bothered. Once something is actioned it goes in a labelled box on the shelves if I might need to refer to it again. If it's finished with I throw it away.
When it starts getting full I go through it and anything that's out of date or no longer needed gets thrown. This is an essential step or it could easily get out of control again.
A combination of this and labelled boxes on shelves for stuff I need to keep has honestly revolutionised my paperwork storage (I'd like to say it's revolutionised my life but that's probably going a bit far!) Previously I had a bunch of carrier bags and a huge mountain of paperwork on the desk. Whenever I needed something I had to go through the whole lot until I found it. Total disorganisation and mess. Not any more!
Right ladies, I'm going in. I may be some time ...
Thanks for this thread.
I spotted it in actives this morning and was inspired to sort out The Paper Cupboard of Doom.
just set up evernote too!
Some great ideas on here. I like the idea of using Evernote - Tribpot, can you create reminders from Evernote.
That ikea newspaper rack - does it hold A4 size? I think that could work for us. I have somewhere in the kitchen it could live, and I like the idea of dealing with post each night in the kitchen. We have too many places where we can stuff paperwork in an 'out of sight out of mind' kind of way and I'm desperate to get on top of it.
Right then - new system.
1. Drawer at back door (where we come in) for 'immediate action', e.g. things to fill in & send back to school, write a cheque for etc.
2. Pile by scanner to scan for almost everything else.
3. Pile of scanned things to file. The filing system remains complex, but as it will all be on evernote we can just search it & print it. Only if the IRS or HM gov come calling will we need the originals, but then we should be able to find them.
doing the filing is now on the 'weekly jobs' list along with the laundry.
It can't possibly go wrong.
Why not leave the actual filing to your DH, since it's his complex system?
Cos he will do it once a year and it will drive me crazy. I like my house to be tidy and organized so I do that. Any personal
crap belongings of his get stuck where I don't see them and I refuse to tidy them
Agree: bin what you don't need.
Dates straight on calendar.
Imminent and important on fridge (family), tucked into diary (work) or pinned to board in study (uni).
anything for storage but not needed: dropped straight into box file. when full, dated for day it's full and popped into loft.
clear popper files for: work related certificates, scout related certificates, product instructions, id docs (replace the proof of addresses quarterly
I saw these in debenhams:
I thought they were a bit pricey so I am going to make my own but at least it gives you an idea
Yes, the newspaper rack holds A4. I like it because it can hold quite a lot of paperwork, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming to deal with it. After writing my last post I spent 5 minutes clearing I spent about 2 minutes quickly going through it and throwing out stuff like old newsletters, filing some post etc. I also tend to put stuff that I'm going to need really soon (eg a bill that needs paying) into one of the layers vertically so it sticks out of the top and acts as a visual reminder
I got some pretty box files and keep on top of shredding etc. also keep DH away from all paperwork! That way I know where everything is.....
Thanks for linking the paper rack. That looks like just what I need and it will just fit in my kitchen! Sending dh off to ikea this week!
It's wrong that I'm disappointed there wasn't any post to put on Evernote, isn't it.
A Magazine file for DH and myself - my kids are tiny but when they're at school I will do theirs too. These take up little counter space in the kitchen but hold quite a lot then all post that needs to be kept/delt with goes in our individual file. I then file/deal with mine properly about once a fortninght and DH --less ften! This has revolutionised piles of post though. they the big key is having the filing cabinet in the utility room instead of on the top floor so when I do file thiongs I don't have to walk upstairs. This seems to be working very well so far - I basically do everything except DHs personal banking/phone etc. If his file is too full he has to deal with it or I threaten to shread everything!
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