5 Steps To Stop Paperwork From Taking Over Your House

5 Steps To Stop Paperwork From Taking Over Your House

Do you have household paperwork in piles, boxes, and on tables? Does every surface become cluttered with papers? Do you receive a piece of mail that you don’t want to deal with right away, then add it to the pile? When you attempt to tidy it up, do you just move it somewhere else?

If any of this is familiar, and you want it to change, then read on…

This is such a common problem. We all get things in the post that we don’t have time to deal with when it comes in. There are bills that need paying, school letters that need responding to, catalogues that you hold on to because of the special offer that you probably only get to when it’s passed the deadline. Paperwork never seems to stop and we never seem to have the time to sort it all out. So what’s the solution? Follow these 5 simple tips to get back in control.

Step 1: Prevention –

  • junk mailStop the unnecessary papers from coming in the first place. There are plenty of place to remove your address from
    mailing lists and whilst this won’t stop it all, it will certainly help.
  • Make sure you get your bills by email – paperless is the way to go. If you’re worried about missing a payment, make sure you have direct debit set up, or set a monthly reminder on your calendar/phone.
  • Cancel catalogue subscriptions – if you want anything, it’s all online (and easier to find!) anyway.
  • Consider sharing subscriptions to magazines with friends, or subscribing to the online version instead.
  • As junk mail comes through the letterbox, resist temptation to open it – pop it straight into the recycling.

Step 2: Tackle the accumulated papers –

  • post it notesYou’ll need to set aside some time to do this, and if it scares you, do it after step 4.
  • You’ll also need space!
  • The best way to start is to grab all the papers from all the dumping zones and make one huge pile on a large table or the floor.
  • Next make a few categories to start you off & write them each on a post-it note (e.g. recycle, shred, bin, need actioning, file away)
  • Then pick each item and put it into the correct pile. Do this quickly and touch each paper only once. If in doubt, throw it out!
  • Once it’s all separated put it in its place – you can have a box or tray for the things that need actioning.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done (so far!)

File folderStep 3: Decide on your categories and sort things as they come in –

  • Have only one spot for your incoming papers, which can be organised with stacking trays or a file holder. Have a separate filing system for your bills, etc. Use a notice board or the fridge for things like coupons. Scan useful articles from magazines and recycle the magazine.
  • There are so many different ways to categorise your papers and you need to find the one that suits you best.
  • Try something along the lines of:
    • Do; Pay; File; Read.
    • Another useful way to separate is by urgency and necessity, so try: Urgent and Necessary; Necessary but not Urgent; Urgent but not Necessary; Neither Necessary nor Urgent. – This way you can decide if something is even worth doing – if it’s neither urgent nor necessary, do you really want to spend time on it?

Step 4: Stay on top of it –

  • 10 minutes timerMake sure you put things in their place right away.
  • Deal with things like school letters straight away if you can.
  • If something has a deadline, have a calendar there and write it on, or pop a reminder in your phone.
  • Set aside a few minutes every day to action anything urgent – ten minutes a day will make a huge difference.
  • Once or twice a week go through the nicely organised papers.

Step 5: Celebrate how wonderfully organised you now are! –

trophyMarvel at yourself and how all your friends wonder how you never forget to return that school permission slip, or that meeting that they forgot about! Then, of course, when they ask, help them do it too.



I hope that you’ve found these tips useful and would love to hear your thoughts and tips. If you try this process, it would be great to hear how you get on.

If you are struggling with this, contact Ruth at the Time Fairy to help you get started.

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