It’s Jump Start January and it’s Day 4 of Declutter Week. Today it’s time to organise your home paperwork.
Many of us put off sorting this out, but after a good declutter you’ll feel so much better, I promise. This is coming from someone whose heart sinks every time she even thinks the word ‘paperwork’, and if I can do it, anyone can.
Here’s the declutter:
- Decide where you want to keep your paperwork from now on. Be practical: pick a place that’s both to easy use and maintain. Clean and clear your chosen area if necessary.
- Track down all your home paperwork and get it into one place. Check drawers, shelves, bags, boxes, tabletops, letter racks, in-trays, piles on floors and so on.
- Sort the paperwork into separate piles for bills, contracts, certificates, guarantees, and user guides/instructions. Also make a pile of ‘not related’ items.
- Working quickly, put your contracts, certificates, guarantees, and user guides into clearly labelled separate files, and store them in your paperwork area. As you probably won’t need to use these very often, there’s no need to file them beautifully.
- Take more time over the household bills. Open anything that’s still in an envelope and check it, and put all the bills from the same company together.
- Now file all bills less than two years old in chronological order. Use dividers/staples/clips/wallets as needed, label clearly, and file in an easy-to-reach place. (UK freelancers working from home might need to keep the last five years of bills for tax purposes).
- Separate out any bills that are several years old, especially bills for services that you no longer use. Shred and recycle the paper.
- Put old envelopes outside in the recycling as soon as the filing is finished.
- Sort out any ‘not related’ items. Put them away in the correct place, or dispose of them.
Oh, how I hate household paperwork! But I have come to realise that I hate it even more if it’s cluttering the place up, or I can’t find something important in a hurry. In particular, this declutter helps when you’re shopping around for a better deal on your household bills.
Have you kicked your home paperwork into shape today? How much filing and storage did you use?
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