One of my biggest organizational issues has always been where in the heck I should put the never ending amount of mail and paper that makes its way into our home.
In our last house, I had two veeeeeery messy magazine files that were stuffed with every paper under the sun. We never knew where anything was which made doing taxes, making plans, and remembering important bills and dates pretty tricky.
And then something clicked. (Hallelujah!)
I needed a simple but efficient way to file and categorize every piece of paper that came into the house. Sure, we have "The Big File Cabinet" that holds ALL of our important and long-term files and information, but I needed a temporary place to sort things that was out in the open and easy to get to. And it needed to be pretty :)
And then...I was in Target and noticed the cutest little file holder. It was meant to be. I snatched it up, took it home, and after a few hours of walking around in circles trying to figure out what kind of mail and other papers we receive and think are important enough to keep, I grabbed my label maker and came up with this...
Here are the categories in detail...
-Auto - Car insurance, invoices, repairs, registration notices, etc.
-Cards/Invites - Invitations from past events that I want to scrapbook, sweet cards to save, notes, etc. Invites for upcoming events are displayed somewhere else that I hope to show you soon!
-Financial - Banking and financial information, paid bills, statements, etc.
-Health - Anything related to health/eye/dental insurance, paid medical bills, invoices, etc.
-Home - Mortgage and home insurance information or statements, etc.
-Ideas/Notes - I write a zillion random ideas down, and now they have a place to go!!!
-J Ferg - Any information/forms/receipts from Bryan's roofing job
-LISD - Information/forms from the school district Bryan works for
-Made By Katy- Anything to do with my blog or Etsy Shop!
-Parker - Random notes that I write, newsletters from children's ministry, doctor's notes, etc.
-Taxes - Well...tax stuff :)
-To-Do/Pay - Bills that need to be paid, forms that need to be filled out, etc.
-Utilities - Statements or letters from utility companies
-Weekly Ads - This is where I put my favorite grocery store ads that I get each week. I also put my Red Plum coupons (that I haven't clipped) and any specials from Babies R Us, Target, etc. I have a special place for clipped coupons that I hope to share soon, too.
Y'ALL. This has changed my life. We've been using this system for about 3 months and we have yet to see any paper piled up on our kitchen counter. It truly is the little things that make the world a happy place!
I cannot get over how easy my new mail sorting center is to use and maintain. I check the mail, immediately throw away the junk, and then quickly file the keepers into their categories. It takes all of one minute. If we get a newsletter at MOPS or church, it's not a big deal because it has a place to hang out! If Bryan comes home with a stack of player stats...it's not big deal, just file it away!
Coming up with adequate categories took a lot of thought and some tweaking, but was so worth it! Seriously. Everyone needs to do this, in my opinion :).
Once the files get full enough, I will clean them out and transfer the long-term keepers to "The Big File Cabinet". I say "will" because I haven't had to do that yet--that's how tidy and organized this system keeps everything.
Of course, I needed it to be functional AND pretty, so I threw a quick little vignette together. I should also mention that I keep my mail sorting center on the kitchen counter (the cabinets above it hold my "Command Center" - you will see that later). The kitchen still needs SO much work (like a total gut job), but I love looking at this particular little corner...it makes me smile.
How do you organize your mail and incoming papers? Does it ever drive your crazy like it did me?
Have a wonderful day!