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Getting the "home office"/paperwork under control

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi- I am really working on decluttering/organizing before the baby comes in January. We've got alot to do but I am determined to use this second trimester! One of my biggest challenges is paperwork/bills. We've been keeping all the mail on an antique writing desk (very narrow, not for sitting at) by the door but it turned into a huge heap. I don't file regularly, bills get lost (most are paid automatically but I feel like I should keep/file the statements). I dumped all the bills into a box and took the desk down to the basement. It was little and narrow, too small to sit and work at and too small to really be useful. We have a small house and no extra space for an office or a big desk. What I want is to establish an "office in a bag" system like flylady and have a method in place to get the stuff we keep/file put away promptly. Anyone have some good tips for creating/organizing home office type stuff? Thanks!
post #2 of 7
Well, I don't really keep old bills because I just don't want to and I think that they only one I regularly get in the mail is my cable/phone bill, but if I did, I would probably keep them in sheet protectors in a 3ring binder. They have a type designed to hold multiple pages, and you could have one for each company and throw them out after whatever time you like.

Do you have room for a small file box in a closet? You could get one and put everything labelled in there in folders and then just pull it out once a week or so to catch up on things at the kitchen table.

I just sort important things into the filing drawer in my craft room, but I keep a very simple Excel spreadsheet on my computer for my bills so I can see how my budget looks and what's been paid at any time.
post #3 of 7
I've got some ideas, but don't have time to post them right now. Subbing to this thread so I remember (hopefully) to come back later.
post #4 of 7
Just subbing to the thread
post #5 of 7
My suggestion would be that you are keeping way, way too much paper. Subscribe to as many online bills that you can to stop even getting that paper. I have a wall hanging thingie from Target in my kitchen. It has three slots. One is any bills that need to be paid, the other is important paperwork that I need to constantly have handy (insurance policy, recent receipts ((as in bigger purchases from the past month only otherwise they get filed)), coupons, license renewal, invitations, ect.) and a third for things that need to be filed which I take downstairs and file about once or twice a month. Everything is computerized now and we really don't need to keep as much as we think we do. You have to be brutal about what you keep and really think about what you went back and used, for tax purposes, ect. and remember that someone else has records as well if you need something you threw away. I keep insurance policies, paycheck stubs, receipts from the school my kids attend, receipts for big purchases, owners manuals and that's about it. No bills whatsoever.
post #6 of 7
You read my mind. Paperwork clutter is the pits and I am trying to dig my way out, too. I feel that I need to keep everything for tax purposes (dh is self-employed and I dabble in self-employ myself) and as a result, I just swim in my paperwork "pile" on my "spare" counter. Thanks for the ideas though, I'll put them to use!
post #7 of 7
for some reason we keep a lot of paper. i get worried i'll throw away something important or lose something important and dh says he'll deal with the paper, but he doesn't really. he does do great with all the bills and has converted most of them to automatic payment and online stuff so we don't even get a lot of bills any more and in that sense he's done great, but if it comes in to the house it sits on the kitchen table until one of us decideds to do something with it and that some one 3 times out of 5 is me. what i finally did at the beginning of this year was set up a regular old filing system in a big filing cabinet we have. i know there's a lot of stuff in there we don't need, but at least it's got a place and it's not just clutter, y'know? if we do happen to need it i can find it, too. i don't file every day or anything, but dh likes to keep receipts so i just made a big old folder for receipts and when i come back from the store and am unpacking my booty i just stroll over to the filing cabniet and stuff the receipt in the receipt folder. i'm sure we won't ever need 'em, but if i do by chance need to return something or if we want to doublecheck something on a credit card bill we can find the receipt. i file the big stuff like insurance policies, dr bills, too, plus stuff from dd1's school, vet bills, bank statements (most online, but still get a few things), etc, etc. it helps a lot just to have some place to put it even if my filing system is kinda made up.

paperwork is the clutter thing i have the most trouble with. i have this paralyzing fear that i will lose something important or fail to deal with something that needs dealing with. give me clothes to sort through any day!
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