Saturday, June 2, 2007

Organizing Paper Clutter in Your Home

By Glynnis Whitwer

Create a filing system - Every home needs a filing system to keep receipts for big purchases, owner's manuals, medical and tax records, important documents and financial records. Purchase hanging folders, manilla file folders and labels to get started. Organize by big topics with the hanging folders, and smaller sub-topics with file folders. Example: Hanging File: Electronics. Sub-files: television, computer, cell-phone contract, video camera.

Use a planner - Choose a nice professional planner or an inexpensive, spiral notebook (the kind with the spirals on top). Use this for your to-do lists, and general information. Keep this handy and add to it throughout the day. This is a great way to eliminate little pieces of paper.

Kid's Art Work - I invested in a 3-ring binder and plastic sheet protectors. When my little Picasso's create a work of art, I make sure their name is on it, add the date, and stick it into the 3-ring binder. This is also where I tuck stories and hand-drawn cards.

Activity Ideas - Where to keep all those restaurant menus, brochures for the roller rink, cupcake decorating ideas and so on? A three-ring binder with tabbed inserts, and plastic sheet protectors works great. Invest in a 3-hole puncher and get organized.

Things to Read - We all have catalogs, magazines, newsletters and books that we want to read. Here are a few ideas: Identify one shelf in a bookshelf for just those things. Put a basket by your favorite chair. Put some in a bag in the car. Then, when you are waiting for kids at practice or in a doctor's office, grab the bag and get caught up. Unless you are a keeper, then give magazines away when you are done.

Decorating Ideas - Don't save an entire magazine for one great photo. Cut out the photo and recycle the magazine. Ideas for decorating, landscaping and cooking can go in binders or purchase some cute stacking boxes and use them to store clippings. Invest in an inexpensive labeling machine for an organized look.