TYoMIH: Project #1 – New System for Paper

One of the big elements of clutter around our house is paper.  Yes, we have signed up for paperless billing and have removed our names from catalog and other junk mail lists, but we still have a lot of paper products coming into our house.  And paper is one thing that I just can’t bear to throw out – it’s just so easy to recycle! 

Since we bought our house a year and a half ago, we haven’t really been able to settle on a system which we both can live with and adhere to when it comes to mail, recycling, keeping important papers.  As a consequence, we have piles of paper stowed here and there and a constant pile of mail on our coffee table.  We lose important papers and have had a streak of being late with a couple of our bills.

Thus, the goals of this project are to:

  • Move our paper intake, sorting and recycling area to a more convenient and accessible location.  Right now we don’t really have a system, so one day the mail gets put in one location and one day it goes into another.
  • Re-purpose our existing mail sorting baskets to support our new process.  About 6 months ago, we bought bins from target which were “his” and “hers”.  This worked for a couple months until both our bins got full and we started to get confused about which bin was which.  Now, we will go with a “To Be Acted Upon” and a “To Be Filed System”.  This should better suit our needs and help us with some of our issues of losing important things.
  • Put in place a filing system and process.  Right now we have a year and a half of back log, stashed here and there.  We will file at least monthly, if not more frequently.
  • Work through and purge all the backlog.  My plan is to put it all into one place and go through it all at once.
  • See if there are any more mailings that we can eliminate.  See if we can get some of our bills synched up to the start of the month and get rid of the paper bills.  Right now we use the paper bills as a reminder to pay!  If everything was lined up, we could go online once a month and deal with it.

The budget for this project is $50 or less.  We may need some filing bins, but basically we have most of the elements – we just need to reorganize and set an ongoing process so we don’t get into this mess (pardon the pun) again.

My goal is to get the majority of this done before the end of January.  Patrick will have to deal with some of the backlog and he is going away for the last week of January – so his part may bleed into February.  We are also going to the Olympics in February, so I want to be 100% complete before we leave.  Updates and photos as I work through – blogging this is mostly for my own benefit so that I actually follow through and get this done!

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