A few weeks ago, I wrote about how you can clear out all your piles of paperwork.

I also mentioned that I’d wait for a future week to talk about how to maintain the paperwork system – forever!  Well – today’s the day we’re going to talk about that.

icon111Piles of paper can be overwhelming and not to mention, dangerous!  Yes, dangerous, because paper is very flammable, but that’s not what I’m talking about!!….I mean dangerous in terms of if you forget to pay your phone bill, your phone can be cut off.  If you forget to file your car insurance, what happens if you have an accident then aren’t covered? And God forbid you ever forget to pay your Pay TV bill!!

There are really two organised and EASY ways of dealing with paperwork that I’m going to share with you!

1. The ‘handle paper only once’ method; and

2. The ‘Christina’s fantastic in-tray’ secret method!

(By the way, I actually use #1, not #2, but I’ve got clients that LOOOOVE #2).

1. The ‘handle paper only once’ method

Firstly – open your bills and deal with your paperwork in the same place every day.  For me, that’s at my kitchen table

As soon as you read the paperwork, decide exactly what needs to be done with it.  Don’t leave the decision until later

If the paper does not include confidential information and it’s just rubbish, rip it up and put it into the recycling bin

If the paper does include confidential information but it’s not anything you want to keep, or to action, take it straight to your shedder and shred it.  Yes, we all should have a shredder at home.  These days you can buy one for less than $20

If the paper needs to be actioned – either (1) action it straight away or (2) put into a designated “I need to action this” place.  Let’s use a bill for example.  I like to pay my bills on payday. So, in my case – if I’ve just been paid, I’ll pay the bill straight away.  If it’s not yet pay day, I have a magnetic clip that’s on the fridge and all the bills that are ‘to be paid on payday’ get put into that clip on the fridge.  Then, on payday, my first port of call is to grab all bills in the clip and pay them.

bills

Once the bill’s paid – file it straight away into your filing system that we already set up.

That’s it!

filing

2. The ‘Christina’s fantastic in-tray’ secret method!

My second method involves a desk and 4 in-trays. Some people like to use this method as a ‘stepping stone’ to method #1, others like to stick to it forever.  It’s up to you!  I think both methods are perfectly reasonable, valid and EXCITING!!!

Buy 4 in-trays.  This is where you can get creative.  Grab different colours, grab clear ones, grab ones that you can cover yourself in artwork if you so wish – whatever pleases you.  Just make sure they’re 4 stackable in-trays and therefore, they’ll only take up room on your desk equivalent to an A4 or foolscap piece of paper!

Woo hoo it’s creative time again – get your label maker, or some white labels and coloured markers – however you like to label things.  Label the 4 trays

  • To action
  • To file
  • To shred
  • To recycle

Again – like Method #1, open you bills and deal with your paperwork at the same place each day, but that place needs to be at your desk, in front of your 4 in-trays

As you open each envelope, decide which tray it needs to go into.

Is it a bill that needs to be paid, or does it relate to something you need to do?  Put it in To action

Is it something you need to keep for information only?  Put it in To file

Does it include confidential information, yet you don’t need to keep it?  Put it in To shred

Is it simply rubbish or junk mail and doesn’t include anything confidential?  Put it in To recycle

Then – once a week (or more often) – empty each tray.  Pay the bills.  File the filing.  Shred.  Recycle.

Done!!

I’d love to hear if you have any paperwork woes you’d like me to address?  Or if you’ve had any successes with organising your paperwork – let me know!

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