Monday, April 25, 2016

Make Room Challenge 3: Tackling the Paper Tiger.

In Week Three of the Make Room Challenge, Melissa Micheal's of the Inspired Room, challenged us to deal with our paper in the way she does in her latest book, Make Room . (affiliate link.)

I am late with this challenge because paper.

I hate paper. There is so much of it--and so very little we actually need--but my my husband will ask me for that one piece at any random moment and you'd think it's grounds for divorce if I can't produce it in three seconds or less.

So. No pressure.

Let's see what Melissa says we should do:

Make Room Challenge – Week 3 – Clutter and Entry. Make Room for Arrivals and Departures.

The arrival and departure areas of our home tend to collect quite a bit of clutter and often end up in disarray. We bring in a lot of papers, coats, schoolbags, purses, briefcases, sports equipment, homework, party invitations, and bills, and we track in mud and grime from outside. How do those clutter spots make you feel when they are out of control? This week, we’ll be setting up a sorting station so we can avoid paper pileups near the front door.

 This is my front door.

yep. That's my gorgeous dark blue painted ceiling. I need to give you a better look at that!

I cannot stand it when it is out of control. I cringe when people come up the sidewalk. If my husband is home, I sneak off to the back of the house and let him answer the door. Paper only piles up if someone else empties the mailbox. They put it on the blue shelf instead of sorting it...but that's all right. Me, I do not grab the mail when I come in the door. I leave it where it is until I am ready to deal with it. Then, I take it immediately into the dining room and open it.

3 Steps to Setting Up a Paper-Sorting Station

1. Find a spot near your entry or office area where you’ll take all incoming mail. Put a shredder and recycling bin near this station so you’ll be able to immediately deal with papers you don’t want. 

So, no shredder: but I reserve this garbage can strictly for paper. If I have food garbage or any other kind, I take it to the kitchen.

also known as the circular file.

After I've tossed the junk, the mail goes here:

If I got a bigger box, there'd just be that much more to sort.

as does every single other piece of paper in the house. It is my collection station and it is overflowing. But I know where everything is!

2. Plan to sort, shred, or recycle all the envelopes, newspapers, and junk mail, and put your bills in your previously designated spot every time you bring the mail in the house. Everything that is not a bill but has a due date or an upcoming deadline can go on a bulletin board with a clip or pin.

So, there are two kinds of paper--well, four, but first two. The first two broad categories of paper are 1) Action and 2) Reference.

Action breaks down into two more: a) those with a deadline and 2) those without. That's what Melissa is referencing above. Bills are just action papers with deadlines. So are dental hygiene appointments and a notice to order my son's graduation photos.

Reference is divided by time, too: a) near and b) far. In fact, according to Simplify 101 (not an affiliate link though it totally should be, I love them so much) reference (far) is actually called archival paper. And that needs to be waded through periodically and dealt with, too.

Here's the paper from that box divided like so:

Examples of a few things in the piles:

Action, deadline: auto club membership renewal, census notice, House lottery tickets. (I want to go see the houses, not buy a ticket.)

Action, no deadline: credit card agreement changes (I need to read it), a receipt for physiotherapy (needs to be submitted to insurance for reembursement.)

Reference, "near": recipes, (need to be put away), husband's vacation schedule, new prescription reembursement program. Most of my reference papers go into these binders on the expedit.

Reference, "far": bills paid, investment statement, photos. (Most of these are filed away in the basement. Not the most convenient place, but it is where there is space.)

Most of our reference paper goes into one of these binders. I'll explain how I handle all our paper in a future post.

3. If a paper is important and you’ll need to access it later, file it in a designated file box or drawer. Give each housemate an inbox if they will receive mail or have papers that enter the house.

Each of us has a personal inbox, right here. See those file folders. Yep. There. That.

It's been helpful for my husband to have a designated spot for all his paperwork while he's been sick. But honestly? The kids never check theirs. But I keep it so I have a place to put their stuff.

I put up this magnetic dry erase board last fall. I hope it is as close to a bulletin board as we ever get. I hate how messy they get--and things get lost on them, too.

Get Organized Tip: If your child comes home with special papers you want to keep, get a clear box with a lid or a personal file box with folders to store the current year report cards, favorite assignments, art, and other significant papers.

It is a good idea.

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