Many people I know are bombarded with incoming mail and other paperwork. I have a system that will help you keep your paperwork moving to the right location in your home. Using bins, boxes, magazine files or baskets, create these categories:
The in box is for any paper that has come in that you haven’t really had a chance to deal with yet. Ideally, you’d be able to open your mail right after you get it. Not many people have that option! Put it in the in box and deal with it every few days or weekly, at the most.
Also called an “action” file, move papers into the to do box when you’ve opened them, but they need further action. Bills to pay, invitations for which to RSVP, phone calls to make and items to read go into this box. If this box gets too confusing, consider breaking paperwork into separate categories for each type of action. If this box gets too full too quickly, increase how often you go through it or reduce how much you do!
This box holds paperwork to be filed until you have time to file it. Either file the paperwork when this box is full or schedule weekly filing sessions. You’d be surprised how quickly filing can go when you do it regularly.
The out-box is for letters going out in the mail, items to give to people, things to take to work, etc. Items in this box must be completely ready to go. A bill must have an envelope, address and stamp. The out box does not need to be a box or bin; it can be your briefcase, purse or coat pocket. Find a place that’s close to your door that works for you.
Finally, remember to have a trashcan (as well as a recycling bin and shredder, if possible) near where you sort your paperwork.