Simple Living Manifesto No. 26
Posted on September 9th, 2011
Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.
I love paper and I hate paper. I am the person who will waste a ream of paper printing out cases to read, highlight, and make notes on (and then put into binders for future use). But I hate paper clutter. I hate paper calendars. (They’re pretty, but I can’t send an invite to M on a paper calendar!)
I hate bills and envelopes, too, but I’ve found that online notification doesn’t generally work for me, because inevitably, something gets missed, reminders or no. For bills, I’m still a paper girl. It helps to have a tangible reminder of what needs to be paid.
So far, the best system we have is a green box. I keep the checkbook (yes, we write checks occasionally), address labels, stamps, paperclips, and other essentials in the box. When the bills come in, I ditch the envelopes, put them in the box and then deal with them every two weeks (paydays) or more, depending. When I’m done with the bill, it either gets tossed (or shredded) or filed, depending on the sort of bill it is.
Because I do work and pay bills in various parts of the loft (my desk, my chair, the kitchen table, standing at the island, my bed, the couch, etc.) depending on my mood, the box is great because I can just pick it up and carry it wherever it needs to go.
Another key to keeping on top of paper is to toss junk ASAP and never let it build up. Our building keeps a recycling bin in the lobby where our mailboxes are. I love this. Love. I can get rid of the junk before I even hop on the elevator to go upstairs. It never even makes it home!
For essential papers like birth certificates, college/law school transcripts, passports, medical reports, and so forth, I keep binders for each of us with that information in them. M is currently generating lots of essential paperwork, so he has individual magazine holders (also green) that I store his important documents in.