After 10 years of marriage, 6 kids, a house, 2 cars, a home business and lots of medical records, we only have 2 drawers of paperwork. 4 years ago we had about 12 bank boxes and 4 drawers loaded to the max with papers. We were living with a literal paper monster. So, what has changed?
Virtually everything is ONLINE!
Some of the ways we were able to defeat our paper monster are the following...
1. Online Banking and bill payments, and online accounts with our utilities. Keep those monthly paper statements from arriving at home!
2. Online news and magazines
3. Smart phones where we keep our calendars, schedules and phone contacts
4. Online instructions and manuals for everything!
5. Digital photography and social media, keeping boxes of photos at bay
6. Pinterest and Google, where we find recipes, articles and how-to's for everything!
7. Sign up on the National Do Not Mail list. http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/
As less paper came into the home, and even more shredded over the years, we eventually won the battle with our paper monster . Last year, we invested in colored hanging files and folders and used our label maker to really make it easy to find anything we had left. Green became finance, yellow-career, red- medical, blue- home maintenance and purple- education. We bought a shredder, caught up on filing, and now we are in maintenance mode. Don't get me wrong, this took hours, and it was a massive project; however, now paperwork is a piece of cake.
Here is how we maintain sanity:
We gather our mail in a drawer and go through it once a week by sorting it into the following piles: Recycling
Things to browse
Each one of those categories has a place, and we deal with them respectively. Bills are paid right after the mail is sorted, and the filing gets done immediately. Magazines or articles go into their basket, and coupons into their drawer. I regularly purge these areas as they add up, expire, or are no longer wanted.
How to start the battle
Once we got caught up, the maintenance wasn't so bad. If you have a paper monster as we once did, then start defeating it one battle at a time.
Recycle or shred everything that can obviously go, like:
Manuals for things you no longer own
Most paper statements
Taxes from over 7 years back
All those articles you thought you would look through but never have
Old magazines and newspapers
Then, sign up for everything online so that the papers stop coming to your door. Remember to use strong passwords, and change them often!
I don't know ANYONE who loves paperwork and bills, but eliminating the chaos makes it go more quickly, making it way more tolerable. Don't give up! Chip away at the piles, and hire help if needed. There is no shame in getting the job done twice as quickly and, ultimately, spending less time shifting and sorting through papers. It feels great and relieves stress to know where everything is so that we aren't missing a thing. We defeated the paper monster, and you can too!
Most of us are in "duck and cover" mode when it comes to the 2016 Election. We long for it to be over partly due to its vicious nature that has left many of us feel as though we are in some sort of countrywide, never-ending argument with one another. Blame whoever you want for that, but the fact is our feelings are real, and most of us are ready to move on. I know that when my husband and I are in a heated disagreement, it is extremely stressful for us both, and it doesn't really feel better until we discuss our differences, respect one another's viewpoints, and compromise for the good of our marriage and family. November 8th is not the day of reconciliation for our country. One party will win, and another party will be very unhappy and unresolved in their position. This is where the most important thing I have learned about this election comes into play. Yes, it IS vicious, and abrasive, and down-right embarrassing at times, but think of it in terms of the content and not the tone. For history's sake, the topics that are arising are pretty fantastic, and though ugly and nasty to discuss, they are MUCH needed changes that will make us all stronger and make our country better. So, instead of hiding from the discomfort of discussing racial discrimination, illegal immigration, sexual harassment, climate change, and financial and economic crisis, we have it right in our faces. It's smack dab in front of us, where it should be, and that's where REAL change can occur. Our country's problems and weaknesses have always existed; only now we are aware, and awareness is the beginning of change. I recognize that the topics with which we are being faced are awful and challenging to resolve, but think about how this is potentially affecting our country historically! We are on the brink of resolutions if we do not shrink away from the topics at hand. Let's come together and resolve to discuss our differences, respect one another's viewpoints, and compromise for the good of each other, our country, and our world. Let's not shrink back into our complacency or our ignorance and hide from the ugliness that we are far too aware of, and let us strive to resolve these issues even after November 8th. It WILL be wonderful when the tone of the election of 2016 changes -- which may not occur until the election is over -- but I have learned not to grow weary of the content because the topics being discussed are so important, and with them is the hope of historic change, change that would make our families, country and world stronger and more at peace.