Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mail, Paperwork, Clutter....Oh My!

I have blogged before about the importance of maintaining your systems.  Except, I tend to NOT listen to my own advice.  The problem?  I lose interest easily.  Seriously y'all, my home is full of unfinished projects that started with good intentions and excitement.  *Rolls eyes*

At any rate, I realized that I am going to have to make a system that not only functions easily, but is nice to look at.  Because, let's face it, I'm lazy but I like things purdy.  So, I have decided to implement the "43 folders" organizational technique.  I'm not going to go into detail about how it works, but rest assured that it is not as complicated as it looks...I think.  I will use this system for a month and see how it goes.  (You can easily do a Google search on "43 folders" and come up with eleventy billion results.)  So let's get this party started!

First things first, start with a refreshing beverage and delicious smelling candle...'cause atmosphere is e'rything yo.

 Next, gather all your supplies.  I collected a pen, pencil, marker, note cards for notes (I will explain more tomorrow), letter opener, and my trash can.  I also grabbed my overstuffed Inbox and all the mess that wouldn't fit in it that was overflowing onto the table beside it.  Ugh.  That's a lot of clutter.

Then, I sorted my mess into nine piles, er, categories. This made the process of dealing with each item quick and painless. My categories were:
  1. Put Away/Actionable (Do Now).
  2. To File.
  3. Actionable (Filed by Date). <-- It's a 43 Folders/GTD thing.
  4. Receipts that need to be entered into the check register.
  5. To Shred.
  6. To Read (Magazines, Catalogs, etc).
  7. Coupons to filed.
  8. Bills to be paid.
  9. Trash.
Once I was finished sorting, I:
  • Put bills in my "Bills to be Paid" folder.
  • Put anything that needed to be filed in my "To File" folder.
  • Placed any receipts into my "Receipt" basket to be dealt with later.
  • Put any actionable item that needs to filed in my 43 folders category in the appropriate day.
  • Brought the "To Read" pile to the living room for me to browse tonight when I'm vegging on the couch.
  • Put the coupons in their little expandable file.
  • Shredded the "To Shred" pile.
  • And trashed the trash.
This is my New and Improved Inbox.  This inbox will house my 43 folders, plus bills that need to be paid, items that need to be filed, our budget/cash flow plan, anything that is "Holding" at the moment (Still not sure if this is going to be needed or not...), the cash for our "cash only" budget, a notebook, a letter opener, and writing utensils.  Pretty, huh?!?

From start to finish, this process took me about 45 minutes (including picture-taking).  I hope that this new system will be more conducive to our needs.  Now that I have the bulk of the back-log taken care of, I can start processing new items as soon as they enter the house.  I will also show Frank how this system works so he can also use it as well.

Now, off to take care of the bulging "To File" folder.  Later, y'all!

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