To get organized, assign every item to a "home." Having a home for an item means that there is only one logical place for you to look for it. For example, there should be only one place that you keep your old tax records.
The most essential aspect of organizing is to FIRST group similar or related items together. For example, examine the paper clutter on your kitchen table or home office desk. Categories of items might include coupons for food and household products, business cards, tickets for upcoming travel or events, unpaid bills, or financial statements.
Here are three additional strategies:
* Dispose of unneeded or duplicate items. Expired coupons and financial statements whose information is duplicated on a quarterly or annual statement can be recycled (shred documents with personal information before recycling).
* Choose containers. Paper items generally belong in a file, envelope, or notebook. A file folder or three-ring binder works well for financial statements or other documents that are generally 8-1/2 by 11 inches. A pocket folder or envelope works better for a collection of odd-sized items such as coupons.
* Choose a home for each container. An envelope with fast-food coupons might be kept in the car. A file folder containing unpaid bills should be close to your supply of envelopes and stamps.
For information on dealing with mountains of papers, check the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Web site “Dealing with Clutter”: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/clutter/papers2.html
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