Organizing Your Chaos Blog
Organizing Your Chaos Blog
If you didn't know it by now, I love to organize paper! My first job that I had in high school was in a business office. My job was something that most people didn't like...filing paper into filing cabinets. Yes, it wasn't exciting, but I didn't mind it at all. I liked putting the papers in date or alphabetical order. I didn't know then how much I like having a sense of order to my life. The simple act of organized paper can eliminate unnecessary stress and frustration.
Now, thirty years later, I am helping overwhelmed women gain peace and calm in their lives by organizing bins, boxes, and bags of paper that overwhelm not only our spaces, but our minds as well.
I've had the opportunity to work with Lisa Kelly Woodruff for over six years. Lisa owns Organize 365 and has created easy to follow solutions to organizing your home and your paper. Her new book the Paper Solution is being launched today!! You guys, THIS is the most comprehensive book on getting your paper organized! If you want to tackle your paper, this handbook is for you. :)
Did you know that there are two basic kinds of paper? Actionable and Reference. Lisa explains what to do with the two kinds of paper that you have. With easy step by step solutions, you can get out from under the paper mountain that threatens to bury you.
I've learned that as we get our paper organized, we begin to gain peace and calmness in our minds as well as our homes. The cost of living in an unorganized home can be high. It can cause family and emotional stress. I'm here to tell you that this can be changed! If you ready to get your paper organized, the Paper Solution is the place to begin!
As a Professional Organizer, I know that it's possible to find what you need in 3 minutes or less. It may take time, but it can be done. One step at a time.
Let's Do It Together!
We all have things that we need to do that make our world go round. Everything from taking care of your family to what you do for work. How do you know what all you need to do? How do you remember where you need to be? With all the things that swirl around in our heads AND our responsibility to take care of our families, it’s no wonder we can get emotionally exhausted!
I have used a calendar for a long time. Raising a busy family of 8 has had its challenges. I knew that there would be no way under the sun that I could remember all the things that needed to happen in our family. So I’ve been using a paper calendar for years. This was the only way that I knew to make sure that we were at the right place at the right time. If it wasn’t written down, it wasn’t going to happen!
When the digital calendar became popular, I added it to my tool box. Adding the digital calendar (I use Google calendar) was extremely helpful because I was able to assign a color to each member of my family, and I could easily see who needed to be where. And, the bonus was that on my digital calendar I added the notification reminders. The “ding” gave me ample time to regroup and move on to the next activity.
As soon as something is scheduled, I add it to my digital calendar. If I’m at my desk, I use my computer; if I’m out, I add it to my phone. This has eliminated the need to keep the reminder cards for a doctor’s appointment, for example, or papers with dates on them. I have less paper piles and know where I need to be.
I use my paper calendar to see my week as a whole. This helps me see what pockets of time I have when I plan out my week using my Sunday Basket. I’ll never remember everything in my head, and I doubt that you will either. There aren’t any prizes being given out even if I do. :)
The tools I use to manage my family and my business are:
I would love to hear how I can help you. Feel free to email, I’m happy to support you!
Let’s Do it Together!
Reference paper refers to paper that you need to keep, but you don't need to access on a daily basis. Some examples of this are mortgage, insurance, taxes, birth & death certificates, warranties, receipts for large purchases, and financial documents., medical and special needs paperwork.
Reference papers need to be easily accessible, but not stored where your daily actionable paper is kept. First, decide how you want to store your reference paper. Options are: folder and files, home binder, in a safe, or scan to an online storage system.
Once you decide how you want to access your reference paper, begin by sorting out all of our papers into piles. Chances are as you do this process, you will get rid of even more of the reference paper that you initially saved during the initial paper purge.
Traditionally, the filing cabinet was the way that people kept their paperwork. Now, as we have access to computers and online storage, more people are moving away from filing cabinets. We don't actually need to save as much as we think we do. And chances are, we have saved so much paper over the years, that we have just added cabinets, boxes, and totes without purging all old and outdated papers.
Creating a home reference binder (3 ring binder) is a way to store your papers. This usually is easier access instead of using a filing cabinet or boxes. You can create your own binder (if you love to DIY), or you can take advantage of binders that have already been created. Purchasing a binder that has already been created with you in mind is a BIG time saver!
Once you have all of your important documents sorted, you may want to invest in a safe. This is a great place to keep birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates. I always suggest making copies of documents that you might store in reference binders as well.
If you are trying to go paperless, you can scan your documents onto your computer, cloud storage, and storage devices for safe keeping. Make sure you know where the documents are as well as passwords to access them if you choose this solution. You may want to make a copy to keep it in a safe with the rest of your important documents.
You can grab my Reference Paper Tip Sheet here to help you as you work on your paper.
I have been using these reference binders from my friend Lisa at Organize 365. They are a great solution, especially if you don't have a file cabinet! And, if you would like to purchase a reference binder, feel free to contact me hereand I can help you get set up! I am a certified organizer through Organize 365 and am All Paper Certified! :) This means I'm one of those crazy gals who loves paper organizing!
I'll be back tomorrow to talk about what to do with your sentimental paper!
Grab a friend and gather up your paper. Now, it's time to take some action!
Let's Do It Together!
Part 4 in a 5 part series
Actionable paper refers to paper that has an action attached to it. This could be making an appointment, responding to an invitation, paying bills, planning a vacation, reimbursements, ordering information, prescription refills, coupons, etc.
Where does it all go?
First, I would suggest that you make a pile of the actionable paper that needs to be taken care of this week. This will help you see that you don't need to focus on all of it. Just the most immediate and timely things.
Finding a home for your papers is pretty important so that you can stay up on things, and not miss deadlines. I have been using the Sunday Basket paper organizing system. It has eliminated excess paper and given me a place to put everything each week.
Papers are sorted into slash pockets, and stored in my Sunday Basket. If you don't have either, you can start with folders and a basket or container to hold your papers. It's important that all of the paper that comes into your homes goes into the same container. This way you eliminate losing things :)
Create categories to hold your papers as you organize all the actionable papers that you have. This can include family members, bills, school, work, errands, phone calls, etc. This gives everything a temporary home until you take care of it. As you look through your papers each week, you can easily sort what has come into the house each week into their proper categories as well as having a handle on what needs immediate attention.
Leaving papers in piles and not giving them weekly attention can cause us to fall behind, forget things, and become overwhelmed. I encourage you to take the time to organize your papers. The initial investment of time and money will be a huge help and eliminate the feelings of overwhelm going forward.
I know it's not easy to get through all the paper, but grab a friend who's also living under a paper mountain, and share these ideas with her. We all need some help now and then :)
I'll be back tomorrow to talk about what to do with the reference paper!
Let's Do It Together!
Part 3 in a 5 part series
How much paper do you have? File cabinets, boxes, bins, folders, bags, etc? Do you know what to do with all of your paper? There are three kinds of paper that most of us have.
Reference paper refers to paper that you need to keep, but you don't need to access on a daily basis. Some examples of this are mortgage, insurance, taxes, birth & death certificates, warranties, receipts for large purchases, financial documents.
Sentimental papers can include photos, brochures from vacations, memorabilia, event programs, letters, kids art projects, and more.
We can get so overwhelmed with paper that we don't know what to do with it. It piles up on the kitchen counter, desk, baskets, drawers, etc. The thought of going through all of the paper can be overwhelming. We can become paralyzed just thinking about what to do. If this is how you feel, you aren't alone. A lot of people want to get their paper organized and don't know how to start.
I want to encourage you that you can do it! You can take a step on getting your paper organized. And, the first step is: Start! How do I start, where do I start, what in the world is the first thing?
Begin with gathering all of your papers,and begin with a sort. You have one decision to make: keep or toss. Once all the paper is sorted, get rid of the toss (recycle or shred) and then you have only what you want and need and then can begin to organize what is left.
This first part can take a lot of time, but once you have eliminated the paper that you don't need, you may be left with a much more manageable pile. Now, it's time to organize the rest!
I'll be back tomorrow to talk about what to do with the actionable paper!
Tell me, what's your biggest paper struggle?
Please share with your friends who can use some help with their paper
Let's Do It Together!
Part 1 of a 5 part series
I coach busy, tired, and overwhelmed women who struggle with "winning at work and losing at home". We work together to transform your life from chaotic to calm. De-cluttering your home, paper piles, and over-flowing schedule will you the confidence, time an energy to do what God created for you to do.
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