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What is your system for bills, mail, papers?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We end up with all this PAPER! Everywhere! We have a stack of old bills over here.. and new ones over there...
Some mail we got today is sitting on top of our lease that we need to sign. Theres more more from yesterday sitting on the table in the living room..
and Dh has TONS of papers from work that accumulate in his pockets and end up in stacks on our dresser...

I dont' know what to do with it!
I have gone thru and pulled out all my stuff.. and gotten rid of my old bills.. and we have this new thingy by the door that is suppoes to be for outgoing bills/mail...
But what about the things we need to keep? And DH's papers... (this is more his problem then mine I think...but I don't know where to put it all!)

And.. do you shred your stuff you throw away?/recycle? I'm starting to think we out to shred our old bills and things we throw out...

Just wondering! We've been decluttering for a month now... we're finally getting somewhere! LOL YEAH!!!

Thanks for the help!

post #2 of 18

This is what I do.

I have a big basket with 5 different parts to it. One part is for envelopes, another is for stamps/address labels/checkbook, two hold stationary and paper, and the last one has our bills in it. The bill closest to me has to be paid first, and I write down in my planner when they need to be sent. I get a bill in.. I write in my planner that I need to send it about a week before it's due.. then when it's time to manage that bill it's right in the front. The checkbook and mailing stuff is all there for me in one spot - right on my desk. And I recycle all of our billing statements when we are finished. Good luck with all of the paper! It builds up fast.
post #3 of 18
One thing that I do is that I go through stuff immediately---So when I get the mail, I sort--Junk mail, bills, correspondance. from there I separate into shred or keep. I personally don't keep a lot of my bills like electric, gas etc. I do keep cc stuff & other debt type of paperwork. I then have 3 baskets--to be filed, to be shredded & to be paid. Then every Friday afternoon all of my baskets are cleared to start a new week. I find if I don't do these steps immediately---it builds up & then I don't want to go through it. Good Luck.
post #4 of 18
I now pay all my bills electronically on paydays, so I check the amt due and if it's changed a lot, I note it on the calender. If not, I jsut get rid of it. The vast majority of my bills dont' change more than $5 from month to month, so I round up and just pay it that way. I have started to read through the mail before I get out of the car (it's a cluster box- I stop on the way home usually and recycle the junk before I even get into the house). It doesn't eliminate the clutter, but reduces it by at least 75%.
post #5 of 18
ZanZan, I really like the idea of having the baskets and clearing them after every week. It's always nice to start out fresh again.
post #6 of 18
I use one of those expanding file folder thingies with the handle on top. Each section is marked for each bill, phone, gas, electric, etc. When a bill comes in the mail, I write the ammt. and due date on a little slip of paper that I put in the see through pocket on the front so I have a little list that says for example
phone 42.89 5-15
electric 71.34 5-25
Then I put the bill in it's compartment in the file folder, newest in front and everything is nice and neat
Mail gets sorted and put away as soon as it comes in the door, because I have found that if I don't do it right away, it becomes little piles all over the house

post #7 of 18
I have a basket with all my stationary in it that sits on one of the shelves on my desk...it has stamps, envelopes, thank you cards, pens etc...you get the drift...

As for bills, I have an envelope with all our account numbers and passwords etc (kept in a special place) and we pay almost everything online and have cancelled our paper bills. I set it up so most of our bills are due around the same time each month (you can contact the companies and they will adjust your due dates)...

It cuts WAY down on paper....when paying the bills online, they always send a confirmation email tha tyou paid...so I created a special folder within my email titled "BILLS" and I keep the confirmation emails for about 2 months, then delete them....so I have a record that I did pay etc...

It has worked out so well! The envelope I mentioned above with the account numbers/passwords etc on them --I keep for 2 reasons: one, you can store that stuff online, but I don't like to do that, I like to log in to the accounts each time for security purposes...secondly, I handle the money around here but in case I were sick, or had to travel, or whatever, it is accessible for my husband...also, if you ever need to call the companies directly to handle something, I have the contact phone numbers on there too...

Just a simple typed page that says things like:

Electric: blah blah company 1-800-555-5555
website: www.bla blah.com
account number: 12345
login: blahblah
password: blahblah

For all the bills...

I keep the envelope in a kind of private place though---wouldn't want a burgler to come in and start wildly paying my bills :LOL

The system works great though...it takes me like 15 minutes to pay all our bills every month! The only thing I mail is the rent check.

Good luck!
post #8 of 18
we shred all those unsolicited credit card applications and "courtesy checks" sent by our cc companies.

for incoming mail, in the foyer we have two large shallow baskets, one for dh and one for me. mail gets sorted immediately, and we each have a bright yellow sheet of paper that sits under the most recently arrived mail. the baskets, theoretically, get emptied once a week. we often fall behind on the emptying part, but at least we don't lose track of today's mail in case we're waiting for something important to arrive.
post #9 of 18
my system is far from perfect, but as long as i keep up with it, it stops the clutter. i open the bills, throw out the outer evenlope and then paperclip the return envelope to the back of them. then i file them in a plastic accordian file that i have labeled for every category (electric, gas, insurance, cable, etc.). i got a green accordian file for bills, since money is green the very front pocket is for "current bills needing to be paid" and once they are paid, i mark the check # and date paid on them, then file them in their categories.

for important papers, i have another accordian file, purple with butterflies for no reason other than i like it categories: certificates, legal, medical, apartment, car, baby, etc.

i like accordian files because i can grab it when i need it, like needing birth certificates i grab the purple one, if social services needs my last few power bills i grab the green one. the files have elastics that keep them shut, things that are to be filed but i don't have time get tucked under the elastic.

ok now remind me that i have this system after a week of me being sick and not filing a damn thing and letting it pile up on the desk
post #10 of 18
System!! Hah-hah-HAH!! About seven piles stashed in my car, and every room of the house...no order to the piles.
My hands are sweating...I NEED to read this--need to pick up tips..but I am having trouble-----starting to panic. :
Paper , and bills in particular are the biggest (aside from clothes) problem in our disorganized home.
post #11 of 18
I hate bills and paperwork too -- still fighting the "hot spots" that come up with things I don't know where to put ....

But in general I open bills, write the due date on the front, and throw them into my desk. I pay bills once a week, on Monday nights. Everything gets ripped up and recycled.

Important papers are filed in a two-drawer file drawer (mortgage info, tax papers, medical bills and records, etc.).

Things I want to remember get tacked up on the bulletin board, and I clean that off fairly frequently.
post #12 of 18
We are terrible at this, so I'll be copying you guys.
post #13 of 18
My mom handed this policy down to us...


It doesn't always work in our house the way my mom has it down, but it certainly helps. We *TRY TO* open it, deal with it, and then put it in the appropriate place (recycling, files, etc) For the most part it works, except for the few things that end up on my desk that I will *need* later.
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by countrymom
System!! Hah-hah-HAH!! About seven piles stashed in my car, and every room of the house...no order to the piles.
My hands are sweating...I NEED to read this--need to pick up tips..but I am having trouble-----starting to panic. :
Paper , and bills in particular are the biggest (aside from clothes) problem in our disorganized home.

Uh ... me, too ...

My folks said to me long ago, "If you just handle everything ONCE you won't have this problem." Meaning as soon as it comes in, deal with it and be done with it.

Yeah, right.

post #15 of 18
I JUST finished going through 3 piles of paper life. I try to keep it under control, but like country mom clothes and paper are the biggest problem in our house. Some good tips though I just label the 3 drawer organizer that sits on my desk. What about all the stuff you think you might need or want to look at later?????? Also what about magazines Can someone help me please! Jen
post #16 of 18
I've gotten our paper bills down to just 4, everything else has an email notification. We pay one bill by mail, and I stop off at the insurance office to pay the car insurance, everything else we do online. I was soooo happy when our city started a utility billpay website.

So, I guess I cut down on the clutter from bills by not letting them in the house.

We've got a photo box to hold the current bills. I save old bills for a year, except the ones that are available online (our electric company tracks usage for us!).
post #17 of 18
We try to pay electronically as much as possible.

File copies of bill in a labeled file in a file cabinet. We try to keep the desk and kitchen counters uncluttered with paper. We have a file in the file cabinet for everything (mortgage, car payments, each utility, each credit card, dental, medical for each person, DS's papers from school -- I can't hang everything on the fridge!, investments, insurance, taxes, etc.).

Get rid of whatever paper you don't need. Either recycle or shred it. We shred everything that has identifying info on it. We recycle magazines, but shred the front cover that has our name & address on it. DH says he's not paranoid.

Once a month or so, go through your stack of magazines and decide what you want to keep. Recycle the rest.

Bills are organized on Quicken software so we know when & how much to pay. Checks are printed out if we can't pay electronically.

When I get the mail, I immediately throw the junk in the recycle bag, except for any pages with our name & address. They get shredded.

If papers do start to pile up on the dining room table or kitchen counter, it makes me anxious! After a few days, I must put it all away!! :
post #18 of 18
Here's my system:

1. Mail comes in and goes on the dining room table.

2. I sort out by person (DS, me, DH) and put DS's and DH's in their baskets.

3. My mail immediately gets sorted into piles - Shred, recycle, deal with.

4. I put the recycle mail (has no identifying personal info on it) into the recycling bag.

5. I shred the mail that has identifying personal info on it.

6. I deal with the mail that needs to be filed, put into our bill book, or answered. Well..okay...sometimes the mail that needs to be answered sits on my desk for weeks. But it's there WAITING to be answered.

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