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Incoming mail

(11 Posts)
biscuitdunkerette Mon 03-Feb-14 07:57:45

We really need a system for incoming paperwork. Currently it gets strewn around the house, lost under piles of books etc

What's a good way to deal with all the stuff? Is an 'in tray' the way forward and if so where do you keep it? We don't have a study, kids would mess about with it if if was in the kitchen, and reckon it would look right weird in our living room. but I appreciate it may need to be on view/accessible to be actually actioned!

And how best file the paperwork thereafter - go through weekly not sure I have the self control?

Thanks for any tips

tribpot Mon 03-Feb-14 08:05:55

How techie are you? Do you have a smartphone, for example?

What I do is try to put the paper away almost immediately. Partly due to clutter but much more to do with the fact that I lose it and then have to spend hours trying to unearth it again.

So what I do is:
- go paperless where possible (utility bills etc)
- paper that comes into the house that needs action gets photographed and the image stored in Evernote. DH prefers to scan to Evernote, and all his hospital appointments and letters are in there via the scanner. For me a photo is good enough as I just need to be able to read what it says - and Evernote indexes the keywords from the image, even on handwriting.
- very important paper (like P60s) go into the fire safe
- less important-but-needs-keeping paper goes into a file for the year
- temporarily useful paper (like things that can be used as proof of address) go into a separate folder called 'Rolling File', meaning anything older than 3 months can be turfed out

Now I have the paper available to me wherever I need it, and can organise my to-do list without having to keep clutter around.

There are still a few things where I need to keep the paper to hand - like filling in my application to have a tree cut down, for example. I do use an actual in tray for that but actually just another folder would do just as well (esp as I have no room for the in tray in my office and it's currently on the floor!)

Rummikub Mon 03-Feb-14 08:47:16

Tribpot, that sounds like a good system. Esp the taking pictures of appointment letters. I lose them frequently!

VendorZilla Mon 03-Feb-14 09:05:14

I have Scanner App Pro for my iPhone. It scans documents and saves them as a readable PDF which can be saved in Evernote or DropBox, then the hard copy can get dropped in the shredder.

tribpot Mon 03-Feb-14 10:38:28

Rummikub - me too. DH is chronically ill so we get a lot of letters from the hospital; the NHS doesn't seem to be able to cut down on its paper addiction. It means I always have the booking number etc along with the appointment details if I need to phone to reschedule or whatever.

Evernote has a page 'scanner' like function for handwritten stuff, which is awesome, but I will check out Scanner App Pro if it's available for Android. When I send things to DH for scanning there can be something of a delay in it actually happening!

I used to file the paper I did need to keep much more neatly than just 'everything from 2013', but now that I can access any of the info I actually need to get to quickly electronically, I take the view that excessive filing is a waste of time.

biscuitdunkerette Mon 03-Feb-14 17:19:05

Thanks very much for the replies. Scanning and keeping stuff electronically seems like a good idea for the future (though we have almost no space left on the laptop due to excessive numbers of kids photos. Must schedule a cull).

I think our most immediate challenge is actually where to put the piles of stuff that comes in, before we scan/file it or whatever. When you pick post up from the mat where do you put it? I usually have a 4 and 5 yo clambering all over me as soon as I get in the house, hence the scattering of mail as it's just dumped in the nearest spot.

My DH is even worse than me at this stuff. Do you find it better (if you have a partner) that one of you has responsibility for sorting?

tribpot Mon 03-Feb-14 18:12:18

I wouldn't overthink it, just have a basket near where you come in and dump it in there - but you must be rigorous in getting it out of there again quickly.

My house is a weird 70s design which means the front of the house is on the wrong side (basically) - so we always come straight into the kitchen and then have to walk through the whole house to the coat rack etc. Bloody annoying. So I just put stuff in a pile in the kitchen - in the way is actually better so you can't treat it as 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Rummikub Tue 04-Feb-14 00:14:01

That's so true about out of sight out of mind. I have just realised I have 'filed' lots of post in a bag in the kitchen to do later. Think I did that a month ago, oops!

Tricot, yep I understand about the NHS letters, sometimes I get the same letter 3 times!

Biscuit, I started to allocate a day for correspondences so I only open post once a week (liberating!), and make my phone calls that day too.

Rummikub Tue 04-Feb-14 00:14:35

Tricot? Sorry I mean tribpot.

specialsubject Tue 04-Feb-14 14:10:16

why are you getting so much post? Put everything online to reduce statements. cancel all catalogues, magazines etc.

obvious junk (we only get the 'occupier' stuff) straight in the recycling. As are envelopes. Appointments written on the wall calendar, letters pinned on a board if needed for the appointment, otherwise shred.

in-tray for the rest. Do it, file it.

Moomoomie Tue 04-Feb-14 14:17:09

I remember reading on here the , only touch it once, mantra. I wish I could stick to that, I am getting better.
My system is very much likespecialsubject , what I love doing is picking up the junk mail, offering it back to whoever just posted it through, then putting it straight into the outdoor recycling bin before the delivery person is even out of the gate!

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