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Papers, Papers, Everywhere – But Not the One I Need!

Papers, Papers, Everywhere – But Not the One I Need!

Families are bombarded with papers and mail every day. It never really stops and at this time of the year, there is also the added burden of finding the papers necessary to prepare the taxes. So, how do you keep up with the papers, handle them and find the important ones when you need them? This newsletter offers several solutions based on your paper personality. Which of the three paper personalities are you? The “pilers” are the ones that make piles of this and that but leave them in the busy zones of the home and so they get relocated and re-piled over and over. The kitchen table and counter are two of the most popular landing zones for the mail and incoming school papers. Problem is when the table or counter is needed the pile is moved to another spot, or several piles are combined. With this method, all the papers need to be looked at to find the one you need. Are you a “piler?” The “collectors” have a spot for papers and put all papers whether important or unimportant in that place. It may be a desk, small table or the corner of a counter, but all papers are dropped there. To find a specific paper they need to go through the entire pile – but at least all the papers are in one place. Are you a “collector?” The “filers” separate their papers and put them in different places depending on their function. Bills go in one place, action items in another, magazines in another etc. Based on what they are looking for they know...
Keeping Your Child’s Papers Under Control

Keeping Your Child’s Papers Under Control

Are you overwhelmed by your child’s papers? The younger they are it seems the more paper they bring home. Depending on the age of your children there are generally three types of children’s papers that come into the home. LOOK AT: Their school papers that have been corrected and returned, notices RETURN: The notices and/or items to be signed KEEP for REFERENCE: The schedules you need to hang onto, contact list for scouts, CCD schedule, etc. The LOOK AT group: First you need to decide whether you want to hang it up for a few days, save for posterity or save for now and purge at the end of the term. For this type you can easily use an accordion folder, or a desktop file with fat hanging folders or a hanging file like the one shown. If your child is in middle school or above they should have their own desktop file or a hanging file and should periodically clean out their notebooks and put the papers in a labeled folder for each subject. This way they are all together when it comes time to study for the midterm exams or review for MCAS. If you just can’t bear to part with some of your child’s art work then leave it displayed for a while and then store in a memory box. At the end of the school year you and your child can enjoy the time going through the papers and picking no more than 10-15 favorites to save. RETURN: Several clients I have use in/out boxes labeled for each family member. Each child is responsible for...

Get Organized Plan:Week 3 – Electronic “paper”

How to handle your electronic “paper” so you can find what you need quickly is the third in our series on handling the papers in our lives. We have set up a system to handle the incoming mail and papers (see blog dated January 12) and we have cleaned out our files (see January 19). Are you still with me? This week we are going to tackle our electronic “paper” and that includes documents, emails and Rss feeds.   First up is your email inbox. Stop and take a look at how many emails are in your inbox (23 now down from 154 for me). Many of them you have probably looked at, but maybe there are some that you still haven’t opened. If it were real paper mail would you leave the unopened mail in the mailbox? Of course not, so why are you leaving it in your inbox?   Just like in other organizing we can use Elizabeth Hagen’s acronym S.T.A.R.T. for our electronic paper too. If you have more than one email account you will need to follow the steps for each account. Once you have a manageable number which I would say should be 25 or less then you will know that nothing is slipping through the cracks.   No more postponed decisions, let’s get S.T.A.R.T.ed! We can combine the first two steps of sort and toss because it is easy to make those decisions at the same time.  First Sort your entire inbox by name (I use Outlook Express) and then you can see how many emails have come in from each source. You may...

The Magic of Containers

Do you have mail and papers spread out all over your counters or in separate piles throughout your home or office? With the holidays fast approaching, here is a quick tip to save you time and make your home look “organized.” Ready? Get a decorative container or basket large enough to hold all those papers and put them in it. There doesn’t that look better? By “containerizing” you are transforming several piles into one and: ·         you’ll know where to look when you need something (saving you time searching each pile) ·         your home or office space will look neater (reducing your stress) ·         you are able to quickly move the container to clear the counter (saving you energy and time) ·         others in the family know where to look (reducing the blame game and your stress level) In general, containing papers holds them in place until you can deal with them. It takes less than five minutes and can make a big difference in how neat and organized your home looks. One warning though, do NOT put bills in this container! Bills should have a separate home and should never land in a pile (unless you like paying late fees). Want to learn how to deal with this container of papers? Next “Tackle and Tame Your Mountain of Paper”  workshop is being held January 14, 2009 at the Norwell Middle School Community Room in Norwell, MA. It’s full of helpful tips and it’s FREE (but you must register to attend by sending your name and email or phone number to laine@laineslogic.com As always, I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading....

Postponed Decisions Find New Life in Tickler Files

Do you have piles of papers cluttering your desk, table or countertops? Paper piles are often the result of postponed decisions. There are many reasons why you may put off a decision. Do you need more information and need to make a phone call or send an email? Or do you need to check your calendar, check with another person or just need time to think about it? Rather than making the decision do you set these papers aside “for now?” The more postponed decisions you have the higher your pile of papers becomes.   A Tickler File can serve as a holding place for those papers waiting for the next action or a decision that you are not ready to make right now. It can also be used to hold information for a date in the future. For example, tickets to the theater next month can wait silently in the tickler file until they are needed. Birthday cards, reminders, directions to that party, and other date specific items can be safely kept in a tickler file until needed. Want to place an online catalog order but don’t have time until the weekend? Then place the catalog in the tickler for Saturday and it will be there when you are ready.   The most common type of tickler file is made up of 43 pockets or file folders. The numbers 1-31 are used for the days of the month and the other 12 are used for the months of the year. The ready made ticklers work well when placed in a desktop file. This holds them upright and keeps...