Paper clutter is one of the biggest things that challenges those of us with ADHD.
Six days a week we get papers, magazines, bills, letters and various sales offers through the daily mail. If we’ve got kids in school, there’s even more paper coming home, and still more if anyone is involved in outside activities.
How do you organize it all? I bet there’s at least one paper pile in your house right now. I know there is in mine (a few, in fact).
There are a number of different ways to handle this, but I’ve found that the simpler the system, the easier it is for us to set up and maintain.
Here is what I do:
As soon as I bring the mail in, I sort through it and toss anything that I don’t want – sale papers, junk mail, etc. Things with personal information that we don’t want are shredded.
Any mail that belongs to another member of the family is either given to them if they are home or placed in a designated area for them. Usually for us, that means the stairs so the kids see it when they come home and head to their room.
Bills are opened right away. The due date and amount is noted on the outside of the envelope. I then put them in a basket I keep for that purpose, filed by due date. It includes the checkbook, pens, stamps, and envelopes.
The basket is divided so that it makes it easier to keep things apart. I keep the basket near the computer so that our bills are not out in the open for others to see and also because it makes it more convenient. Make sure that whatever container you use for this purpose will hold a week’s worth of bills, but not much more. You don’t want it turning into a dumping ground!
Things that I want to look at later, like a magazine or catalog, are put near my chair in the living room.
Once a week, on Friday, I pay the bills. I go through the basket and pull anything that needs attention in the next week. I pay most of our bills online or by automatic withdrawal, so for many of our bills, it’s really more a matter of updating the balance in our checkbook.
The other pile I have is for things to be filed. Right now it’s a box on top of the file cabinet. I used to keep a hanging folder in the front of the file cabinet for things to be filed, but I found that all I did was throw them in there rather than actually filing them. Now when the pile begins to bug me, I file things away.
If you have kids and there are important papers coming home from them (that usually need to be signed and returned), you can put them in the same container as your bills, or designate a separate one for that purpose.