It’s a new year and typically at this time of year, we’re all searching for new ways to get over our weaknesses. Too often, I’ve found the “perfect” solution only to find it only lasts a couple of months before I break the habit, give up, and toss that idea out the window. Of course, different solutions work for different people, so today I share one that worked for me.
Do you have a corner of the kitchen cabinet that only seems to pile up day after day with bills, important papers, not so important papers, notes from teachers, to do lists, paperwork, medical releases, etc., etc., etc.? Well, I did. Finally, when the stack got high enough that it would teeter and eventually fall, I would sit down and sort it only to find out that the coupons I saved were expired, the permission slips never got sent in, and the bills were now due TOMORROW!
Besides the stress of undone things, I also grew to despise the pile. As soon as I cleared it off, it started to grow again. There was no stopping it. Even if I didn’t add to it, someone else did. That’s when I tried the file box. I got the inspiration from my sister-in-law Susan who built a file drawer right into her kitchen cupboards. Ingenious. Since I didn’t have that luxury, I just bought a file box from Walmart and some file folders and got working.
Here’s how I did it. I took my enormous pile and started sorting it into several small piles. In the end, I found I had three general categories of stuff: Things I had to deal with, coupons, and everybody else’s stuff. So, I got three different colors of file folders and gave each folder a label.
My stuff (yellow folders) included:
- School Forms
- To Do NOW
- Labels and Stamps
- Medical Forms
As for bills, once a month, I get out that folder and pay all the bills. I never have to worry if one got lost behind the fridge or got stuck among other papers. If I need to return something, I check my receipt folder for the receipt. Important Medical info: I’ve got it at my fingertips.
My coupon section (green folders) included:
- Fun Activities
- Car Care
Now, when I get a coupon, I just file it under it’s appropriate category and forget about it. When I go grocery shopping, I grab my Grocery file and use any coupons I’ve got in the file. Today, when it was time to find someone to clean the chimney, I looked through my home/repairs file and found a coupon I had saved for a company a few weeks back when one came in the mail. When my husband and I are planning on going to dinner, I scan my restaurant folder to see if I’ve got a coupon for a good restaurant. No more stacks of unorganized coupons!
Finally, my orange section was for everyone else. Each kid and my husband got their own folder. When I find a paper of their’s that got left out, I simply slip it into their folder. When they’ve done some great artwork and then ran off to school, I slip it into their folder for them to finish later. One of the best problems this has solved is that when my husband asks where that important paper is that he had left on the counter this morning ended up, I know right where it is every time.
So, to sum it up, here are the steps to take:
- Divide your large pile into several piles containing related papers.
- Give each pile a name.
- Label each file with the pile names.
- Slip each pile into its appropriate file.
- Put the file box at an easy to reach place.
- DO NOT USE A LID!!! If you do, you’ll find yourself putting the papers on top instead of inside.
I love my file folder. Sure, it’s just organized chaos. But, it’s out of my sight until I need it and that’s just the way I like it! Good luck on organizing your endless pile!