Saturday, March 10, 2012

Paper Problems

I have been using a file system for the last year or so, it has not been successful in the least.  The problem with my old system was, there was only things to do with the paper AFTER I dealt with it.  Here is how the old system would work, my hubby typically brings in the mail/newspaper.  He would place catalogues and coupons for me in the red bin and after I paid the bills or had some paper we needed to keep and file in the white side.   As you can see, not only did it look horrible, but it didn't work.

I could never get to the papers on time, and they would just pile up on the desk creating the "where is the electric bill?' problem.  I was fed up with a non functional system looking horrible.  I also ALWAYS stalled on filing all the papers I needed to keep and it would take me forever to sort out everything and file them in our file box.  It drove me crazy, but no more I came up with a new system, and after a week, it has already made a HUGE difference, and I think it is going to work out fantastic!

I relocated a smaller file box I purchased over a year ago, that I was not as functional as I wanted it to be.  I decided that there were several problems I wanted to fix/change from the old system.

  1. No matter who got the mail, I wanted to be able to find the bills, letters from friends or other things I needed to see with out them piling up on a counter space.
  2. I didn't want a huge amount of filing to deal with every month, because lets face it, it wont get done.
  3. It needed to actually be functional, as it work for every one.
  4. It wanted it to look decent, it is right in our main living space after all.
Here is the box system I figured out that works for us.

Here are the categories, in the file box, and what they are for.

  • Ashley - mail to me, or things that I should see or deal with.
  • Matt - mail to the hubby or things that he should see or deal with (ie he is in charge of paying his loan bill, so those would go directly to him.)
  • Bills to pay- All bills (minus hubby's student loans) get opened, and placed in the "to pay file".  When I pay them, they move into the proper month folder.
  • Coupons/Catalogs - Pretty self-explanatory
  • Paystubs DA - for Hubby
  • Paystubs DS - for me
  • January - December.  - All monthly bills after they have been paid, auto payment bills, receipts papers, etc get filled into the proper month.  
  • To file - There are always going to be random things you need to keep on file that don't fall in a specific month.  While 95% of papers go into the specific month it is important to have a space for at last 5%
  • Medical - Unfortunately medical bills NEVER come in the month that service was received.  Plus at the end of the year, you have to have all the medical paper work/receipts separate for tax purposes.  It makes it easier to just have a separate file for that

I am happy to say that this system has been in use for a week, and it is working!  My desk no longer looks like this:

It is so nice to have a system that works, that my hubby actually uses!  I am so excited to keep this going because I have finally found a system my hubby is on board with.  Now the the box looks like this, it is so much nicer!

 It also happens to be RIGHT next to the door, so there is NO EXCUSE for hubby not to IMMEDIATELY file all the paper, right?

How do you maintain all the paper madness in your house?


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  1. Great post! Finding something that works for You is key :) What's our system? One of us gets the mail, we separate them into "my pile", "his pile", and the recycle pile. All the bills go immediately into my purse, I pay them online the next day on my break at work, I mark the bill "paid" and put it in a filing folder that is labeled by months. If the bill is due in March then it goes in the March slot.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I'm glad that system works for you. I would loose or forget bills in my purse far to easily. Where do your piles go? We tried the pile thing and for us, it ended up in a huge paper mess.

  2. i love this filing method also! After years of trying and failing at binders, I had an AHA moment. 6 months ago and started dealing with paper clutter by using verticle files. It works sooooo much better than a binder!!!

    1. Thanks, the best thing is, it is STILL working! We tried a binder at one point too, it was not as successful as you would have thought.

  3. I think you've successfully tamed your paper monster! Way to go!! :)


  4. Amazing! nice content about paper problems. Thanks for the sharing such a beneficial post.