You know you have one somewhere – a great big old messy pile of papers. Maybe it’s bills, or things you mean to read, or just stuff that collects.
It’s part of having ADHD. Trying to file things where they make sense doesn’t always work for us, because we might categorize the same thing differently every time we see it.
And having one place to put it all ends up in a disorganized pile. Or a clutter fest on your refrigerator.
How do you keep it from piling up? And how can you put it into some order that allows you to find what you need when you need it?
Well I have a few ideas.
Let’s start with the kinds of papers you might have:
Things to read
Things to follow up on, such as permission slips
Important papers that need to be filed
Manuals that come with appliances
Cards from loved ones
I think that about covers the most common types of paper. Now let’s talk about what to do with them the moment that they come into your home.
Bills and permission slips Because I pay my bills online, when I get a new one in the mail, I note the company and amount due on the proper date in my monthly calendar in my planner. I color code it green so that it’s easy to spot.
When I pay the bill, I use Evernote to clip the confirmation page and then save it to my bills folder in Evernote.
If you mail your bills out, I would still note them on your calendar so that you are aware of when they are due. Then I would toss the envelope it came in, tuck the bill into the return envelope, and then store it in an accordion file just for bills. You can get them fairly inexpensively. File them by week or date. That way there is no confusion over how you categorized them.
I would do the same with permission slips. Note the event date on your calendar and if you can, sign and date the permission slip right away. Designate a place for them to be left for pickup. Maybe once you clear all the clutter off of your fridge, they could go there. 😉
Invitations and schedules Basically these are events that need to be noted on your calendar. If you need to send an RSVP, fill it out immediately if there is a card to be returned and you know if you will attend or not. Then stick it in your mailbox or purse to be mailed.
If you are unsure about attending, note the event in your calendar, add a reminder about the RSVP a few days before the due date, and then reply as soon as possible.
Schedules should be entered into your calendar. I would color code them.
Things to read, receipts, and cards from loved ones I think that the very best idea for things like this is to store them in the cloud. You can buy a scanning printer very inexpensively these days and then you can scan them and store them online. Dropbox is a good service to use and it’s free. It also lets you create folders so you can start one for things to read, receipts, and cards. And because it’s in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere.
Also, many receipts these days are printed on thermal paper that fades over time. If it’s important enough to keep, scanning it makes sure you can read it later.
Any other solution puts you back into the filing thing and you already know that doesn’t work.
Important papers and manuals Ideally all of your important papers should be in a safe deposit box at your bank. If you store them at home, get a fireproof lock box and store them there. You don’t have so many that you need to organize and file them.
For any appliance manuals, get another accordion file or if you have a filing cabinet, use it. Create a folder for each room in your house as well as the garage, the yard, and the whole house. Then file each manual under the appropriate room.
Stuff for the car would go in the garage file, if you have a pool, that’s the yard file, and a new roof would go under whole house.
Note that almost all of these manuals can be found online as well. You could create a file on your computer to hold the links to each site.
If you decide to follow any of these suggestions, start by sorting that pile of papers and then deal with each category at a time.