Written on August 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm , by Jen Jones
It’s that time of year. The kids are heading back to school and what already is a typical household problem, is about to because even more challenging to wrangle. I am chatting all about paper piles. Whether it is junk mail, bills, catalogs, invites or school forms, paper reproduces at extreme rates. Having effective systems to manage all that makes it into the home, ensures that the piles don’t because daunting, discouraging or out of control.
There are endless ways to organize and sort paper piles, sometimes it is just a matter of looking at all of the potential options and ideas and selecting what is best for your personal situation. If you have the surface space, labeled paper trays are a wonderful way to to assign tasks to the different types of papers that need to be dealt with.
Another table top solution is to re-purpose a dish rack, or find a standing file holder, to keep labeled files easily accessible and on display. Keeping things out in the open, helps to ensure things are looked at and not forgotten.
For many of us, surface space is precious and limited, and it makes more sense to utilize our vertical spaces instead. One of my favorite solutions is with wall pockets that are designated for different purposes. Wall pockets allow you to give everything a short term designated place until you can schedule a day to sort things down for good.
The fronts and backs of cabinet doors is another great way to effectively utilize space and organize memos, important reminders and dates with the use of chalkboards and cork.
Or you can forgo the traditional cork boards, and create something a little more lovely out of painters canvas!
Important items being stored away for longer terms, should be left in open mail boxes or bins, but filed away in filing cabinets, file boxes or expandable files and neatly labeled for future reference.
An entry is a great place to create a “drop zone” for your mail. Without a designated place, mail can be dropped on the counter, the kitchen table, the ledge by the stairs, left in the car… but by snagging a decorative basket and placing it by the door, mail is always dropped in one place and when time permits, can be sorted and acted upon.
I am such a fan of giving each family member their own “Inbox”. This ensures that papers and documents pertaining to specific individuals, are easily tracked down. A reading log, a sports physical document, an after school birthday party invite, a bill to pay. All different items that may belong to different family members. By keeping them in their own personal bins, there is less time spent sorting through large piles of family documents.
There are many creative and inexpensive ways to give each member their own personal paper spot. Magazine files don’t just need to be used for magazines; they make for perfect paper sorters as well!
Individual drawers are another great way to give everyone a place for their paper piles. These craft storage drawers could easily act as personal in-boxes, and I adore that they are located right in a common traffic area.
One of my all time favorite ways to give everyone their own, designated mail drop spot, is through simple clipboards mounted on the wall. They take up very little space, are quite inexpensive and can hold multiple documents at once. This project could be taken a step further by adding a decorative label above each clipboard, so there is no confusing whose papers are whose.
And last but certainly not least, it is important to love your paper collecting workspace. Once it comes time to sort through the piles and write out bills, fill in your calendar and file away statements, do it in a place that makes to smile. This will ensure that you want to take a moment each week to keep those paper monsters at bay.