Clutter. It’s everywhere. Clutter here, clutter there, everywhere clutter, clutter. It;s difficult managing a home, but clutter makes it overwhelming.
I want to give you some expert tips on dealing with the clutter, and getting it off the kitchen table, desk, fridge, and counters. These tip works if you give them a shot. Trust me, i am as close to a clutter queen as you can get.
First thing, the next time you find yourself with some extra time to sit in front of the TV, grab a pile a papers. Maybe it’s yesterdays mail, or all weeks for that matter. maybe it the pile of “important papers” you have filed yet. Where ever you decide to start, it;s just that, a start. While watching your favorite show, the news, or whatever catches your eye, sort through scattered clutter. Organize them into piles that connect them. For example, i am going through a pile of mail. I have my trash pile, my shred pile, my bills pile, and my need to read pile, all set apart from each other.
Now next commercial, start to deal with these piles. Shred the shredable clutter, trash the trash clutter, and if you already have an organization system in progress for you bills, put them where they belong.
As far as your need to read pile, set it somewhere that you will read it, or turn off the TV and get to reading. the sooner you can throw out or file papers, magazines, and brochures, the quicker your clutter diminishes.
Next, If you have a filing cabinet, put it to use. this may require going through a lot of old clutter already stored in there. Once you have a cleaned filing cabinet, make sure you have the basic folder labels with these organization essential categories.
*Your personal Information: this includes birth certificates, social security cards, resume, any personal, non accounting items. (no taxes, pay stubs etc should be in this file.
*You families personal information: you can combine and separate where you feel the need. For example everyone could get a separate folder, or you and your husband get separate folders, and all the kids information is stored in one file. It’s up to you.
*A shred file: I know this sounds silly, but did you notice how many times you can’t clear clutter away because it has to be shred, so you leave it on the kitchen table because you’ll deal with it later. Okay then now it doesn’t sound so silly, right!
*An unpaid bills file: this includes all those paper bills you get each month. Don’t shred or remove them until their paid. this helps you know what it is that is not paid. Think of it as a back up to your written budget, which we all know, somehow is thrown off every month.
*A paid bills file: keep the bills for three months, then shred them. this is so, if you haven’t actually looked over your bills you know you can double check things as far back as 3 months.
*A pay stub file: these used to get all over my house. I couldn’t just trash them because my social security number was always on the top, so then they had to be shred. Then I noticed a lot of times when applying for a loan, or credit, or some kind of assistance program what I needed most often were my last two pay stubs, the past three months of pay stubs, but I just shredded them, I would cry out. Keep them ALL year, then shred them all at the beginning of the new year, all except the last 2 pay stubs, and start all over.
*An Insurance file: this is often somewhere in the mix of all those clutter piles. Keep duplicate insurance cards, declarations and all policy limitations in this file. you never know when you may need to pull this out.
*A banking file: This is where you put all your statements from your banks. Whether it be saving or Cd’s checking or money market. Of course you can separate it where you feel necessary, but I use just one file.
*A tax file: Keep up to three years of tax returns, and all tax forms in this file. you may also want to include another file for tax deductible receipts.
These are only the basics to a good filing system. You will need to implement and add files according to your needs. Make you filing cabinet an everyday visit to keep clutter out of sight, and in the right place.
Next to your filing cabinet, storage bins are your next best friend. You know, when you don’t have the strength or heart to throw away your children’s artwork, hand print poems, or collages. Place them all in a tightly sealed large plastic bag, then place it into a tightly sealed storage bin. you can store these bins in the basement, attic, under the bed, or in closets. Trust me, there will be a time in your life when you will just want to pull all those things out and reminisce.
Use storage bins for pictures as well. It’s nice to have a safe place to keep those loose leave photos. Other uses include arts and craft supplies, magazines, and out of season (not style) clothes.
These steps will have you seeing more of the detail on your tables and less clutter. Still the easiest way to manage clutter is forming new habits that deal with clutter daily. If your habit is walking in the front door and tossing the mail on the dining room table with out thinking twice about it, make a new spot for “daily” clutter. Use a paper bin that can only hold so many papers before you know it’s time to plop in front of the TV and organize again.
Last tip. Make everyone get involved. If your husband brings a new magazine in the bathroom before he finished reading the paper and etc, then your going to have a clutter pile that he won’t let you touch because he hasn’t finished reading it all yet (and at that rate he never will). Let the kids know that they can’t just give you a pile of papers that the teacher sent home by leaving it on the counter. Designate special places for things that you feel necessary.
You will find many helpful item in Wal*Mart or Staples to help you get organized. However spending money on files, folders, paper bins, storage bins, pen caddies and so on will only add to the clutter if you don’t use them.
So get motivated, and get organized, clutter free is the best way to be!