Organizing Paperwork – Part 1

Good morning to you all!

It’s a beautiful day here in California – the birds are singing, the blossom is blooming and I am feeling cautiously smug.

I say cautiously as I know of old that smugness is usually stamped upon by the swift and hefty boot of comeuppance if it sticks its neck out too far.

But still, it’s going to be hard to knock that spring out of my step as I am now truly practicing what I preach…

As many of you know, one of the things I do with Green Plum Design is to go into people’s homes and sort out mounds of paperwork that seep into their houses via a thousand routes and threaten to overwhelm them.

It happens to us all.  You are not alone…

So, just the other day I met a friend who asked me if I wanted his old wooden two drawer filing cabinet.

Yes please Sireee.

You see, up until yesterday, all our paperwork had been held in a woefully inadequate little metal box, stuffed to the gills and difficult to get into…

Yes, there it is, that little squat black box on the edge of the table.  That was my pinched and inadequate old system for organizing paperwork.  Not so impressive…

And now let me introduce you to my new best friend…

Well, heeello you handsome beast.

With the glidiest of drawers and space for tons of colorful hanging folders – we hit it off from the start.

So here it is, my ABC of taking charge of all your paperwork PART  1 …

  • First things first, if you have an out of control paper work situation or one that needs some pulling into shape, I highly recommend getting yourself a little metal two drawer filing cabinet to start with – Office Depot, for instance,  sells some two drawer cabinets that can fit under most desks from $55…There is of course, ample opportunity to spend so much more should you wish…
  • And then, for those of you who love stationery shops, you will enjoy buying the next essential items, a nice little stack of cheery multi-color hanging folders. Again I got mine at Office Depot – just under $12 for 25 of them…

  • And let’s not forget those little tabs that allow you to navigate your new filing system with efficiency and ease.  Don’t worry, these babies come with the folders…( Can you feel the smugness coming on..? )
  • Next stop, I took all the old files out of my squat little box and put them in a large pile on the garden table.  Then I went around the house in search of any loose pieces of paper that didn’t have an home – quite a lot as it turned out.  So wherever you have paperwork in your house, gather it all into one place.
  • So now you should have all of your paperwork in piles in front of you on a big table if you have one, or the floor if you don’t.  And next to that you should have a stack of hanging folders, labels, tabs and a sharpie…

  • It is essential at this point to make sure that you have a cup of tea or coffee or whatever tickles your fancy to encourage you through the next job of sifting……
  • This is how it goes…
  • Pick up a small pile of papers, what do we have here?
  • Ahh, a nasty bundle of gas and electricity bills – PG & E bills in this neck of the woods.
  • Put them into chronological order.
  • Chuck out ones that are more than 5 years old but keep all your year end tax returns.
  • Whip out your sharpie, make a label, insert it into the tab and attach it to your chosen hanging folder.
  • Slide in the newly ordered pile of P G & E  bills into your labelled folder and Voila!

You have the first of what will become a large pile of folders waiting to be slotted into your new best friend.

Here is my top drawer – full of all those boring things in life like car insurance and telephone bills…

In the bottom drawer, I filed all of our medical records, school records, birth/ marriage/ educational certificates,  memberships and then for me, files for taxes, clients, ideas and other oddities that are peculiar to us….

Frankly, I now have a folder for everything.  I challenge any new pieces of paper that now enter my house to find itself homeless in my new super duper filing system.

And even if you are doing much more bill paying on the computer now, you will still find that you get sent year end statements and they need to go somewhere…

So that is it for Part 1 of my ABC of organizing paperwork.  Part 2 coming right up…

Let me know how you get on…I really like to hear your comments…

Remember, your reward will be a light and airy feeling about your step but watch for severe symptoms of smugness or you will be sure to get a parking ticket within the hour…

Tune in very shortly for Organizing Paperwork Part 2…

See you very soon,

Ros

ps Welcome to you people from the lovely Beach Cottage!

pps If you have a friend or colleague who you think might like this blog – just email me at roswyatt@greenplumdesign.com with their details and I will add them to my notification list…

About Ros

My name is Ros Wyatt and I live across the bay from San Francisco. I moved here from England fifteen years ago with my husband, two children and a dog. Since then I have had added one more child to the line up and work as a painting contractor, color consultant, blogger, and screen printer.
This entry was posted in California, Cleaning up, De-cluttering, Filing Systems, Garden, Green Plum Design, Inspiration, Interior design, office, Organizing, Organizing Paperwork, Re-organizing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Organizing Paperwork – Part 1

  1. harriet garbers says:

    i wish you could pop over and help me tackle my paper mountain! xx

  2. admin says:

    If I could look around Hamburg into the bargain, it’s a deal!xx

  3. sooze says:

    Love the organisation plan If only I could feel so smug. Files and a sharpie are just such a simple way to produce calm and order and I’m all set to follow your lead.

  4. admin says:

    You go girl!

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