Chelsi Jo is all about simplifying motherhood with step-by-step systems, so you can create more time and space for growing your business while raising your children intentionally. One great way to create more space is to stop hoarding paperwork and get organized. In this post, we will go over just that!
Stay tuned for simple approaches to reduce your stress and burnout, how to manage your time, keep up with the house, and learn to truly succeed in your home and your business.
Chelsi Jo has been referred to as ”your best friend in your pocket” because of her tell it like it is approach to guiding work from home moms through the mess of doing both home and business, at the same time.
If you have been living in chronic overwhelm and aren’t sure how much longer you can keep your head above water then you’re in the right place! Chelsi believes that with systems you can succeed in BOTH home and business, you truly don’t have to choose.
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Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Get Your Papers Organized with Ease
This topic has been highly requested inside of The Systemize Your Life Academy and I will just say that it is inside one of my favorite organizing programs, Mind Meister. I have had this mapped out for a very long time and has helped me to stop hoarding paperwork and get organized.
So we’re going to tackle that stack of a mess that you all have. The paperwork that is literally just collecting dust in all the places because you’re afraid to throw certain things away. We’re going to dive into all of the different areas of where paper can typically just collect and why it collects, the categories that I think are the most important for you to keep around, how to maintain them, and how to purge them. All the fun things.
3 Main Categories to Organize Your Papers
I’m going to get straight into it today, and this is pretty straightforward. Basically, get out your pen and paper, jot down these things, and then go into your home and just ransack all the papers. I have this broken down into basically three big categories.
The first and biggest way to stop hoarding paperwork and get organized is your mail. This is for home, right? We’re not tackling business right now because let’s just say you should be as electronic as possible, in my opinion. My mom and I just had a very long conversation today about how the world is basically paperless and she’s not sure how she feels about it.
Then there’s schoolwork and kid’s art. All the kid paperwork they bring to you and they’re like, oh my gosh, look what I made for you. You feel like you can’t throw it away. So you have stacks upon stacks upon stacks of all the homework. This becomes somehow exponentially compounded. I’m not sure how it happens, but the kid’s school things, multiply in very strange ways, especially if you take your child to a preschool.
And then the other one is greeting cards, Christmas cards, or just cards that your husband gets you. I don’t know if your husband gets you cards, but Blain’s a super duper card giver. He looks for the right one and then he just signs his name on it and doesn’t write much in it. But he specifically finds the card that says what he wants to say. And so I never wanna get rid of the cards, right?
The first important thing that you need to do is to get yourself a filing box. You can use a file cabinet or a drawer if you have one, but if not you can literally just run to Walmart and get a plastic file box.
This is where we keep all of our paperwork and we go through this annually. That’s when we go in and we purge to see if we need to get rid of anything. But for the most part, it doesn’t really ever get overfilled. It’s not ever bursting at the seams because that’s not a very strategic way to manage all of your files and paperwork. This is essential to getting yourself and your family to stop hoarding paperwork and get organized.
1. You’ve Got Mail
When you go and you get your mail, you should have a specific spot that your mail goes to. And I like to call this the dropbox. Now, if you don’t have children in your life and nothing is ever distracting, you don’t have a dog, you live alone, and you probably don’t need a dropbox. But if you’re reading this post, you probably need a dropbox.
Command Center Drop Box
We have a community mailbox because we live in a townhouse, so we have to walk down the neighborhood mailbox. And when you’re a mom, if you have a dog, if you have all the things in your life. By the time you walk down to get your mail and come back inside, 500 things have already asked for your attention.
“And when you’re a mom, if you have a dog, if you have all the things in your life. By the time you walk down to get your mail and come back inside, 500 things have already asked for your attention.”
And the last thing that you’re going to do is go stand right in front of the file cabinet, shred what you need to, throw away what you need to, and then file what you need to. Right? That’s likely not going to happen. Likely, you’re going to come in and you’re going to drop it down in a place. So you need to have a very specific place and I want it to be in your command center area in your home.
Unload Your Drop Box
Now, depending on how much paper mail you’re getting regularly will determine how often you need to unload the Dropbox and put it in your filing bin. Some people, and I think it’s a great idea to do it once a week. Our Dropbox is pretty big honestly because it is decorative all cute, and I like it. And really, I’ll be frank and say that it’s probably too big because we can keep way too much mail in there before we file things. So get one that kind of forces you to go through your mail either once a week, max, once a month. Go over to the Dropbox, sort things, throw away what you don’t need, and then everything else gets filed.
One thing that I recommend is to not allow yourself to put the junk mail in the dropbox. Throw that away immediately. The only things that go into the dropbox are things that you believe you need to read because it’s informative. Those are the only things that go into this holding tank for your mail before you actually open it and read it. Now, if you happen to open something and read it and you don’t wanna file it right away, yes, you can put it in the dropbox as well.
Now everything that you need to put inside of your filing box needs to have a filing folder. You can basically categorize them under the following; academic, auto, employment, financial, health, home household, ID’s, insurance, kids, legal memberships, personal, pets, taxes, and utilities. That’s it in a nutshell.
We have managed to get everything inside of those file folders. If you have some one-off things that don’t fit in there, obviously add them for whatever you need them to be for your family. But that is how we take care of our mail.
Here’s the other really important part of this. Switch to paperless as often as you can because then you don’t have to worry about all of the paperwork in the first place. I throw away almost everything if it is possible.
Here’s how I determine this. If it is possible for you to call the company and ask them to either email you a receipt or you can pull it up online, and throw the paper away, you don’t need it. Because here’s the thing, if it ever came to the point in our world where you couldn’t call a company and they couldn’t tell you what last month’s bill was or you couldn’t pull it up on an online portal on your own, then everyone is going to be up the creek without a paddle.
If you think you need an account number, start an ongoing list of account numbers. There are some great password manager apps that you can use, or just use the back of your paper planner, or start a note inside your phone.
The whole point is, don’t hoard papers, throw them away, and get rid of them. Start your journey to stop hoarding paperwork and get organized.
2. Kid’s Paperwork
Here’s the next thing, kids and schoolwork. What do I do with it?
Each kiddo gets a giant three-four inch binder for every year of school. I hole punch it, I put it in the binder. Wham. Bam, thank you. Now Joanna Gaines says that she keeps every single item that comes home from school. I love her. I want to be her, but I don’t, however, want to keep every single piece of paper and artwork that my kids bring home.
It’s so much, especially Frankie Joe, she’s like an artist. Now, if they are drawing something new and making something super creative. They had a story to tell with it and it was interpretive in any way, I will write on the back of it, how old they were or what they said about it. I threw a whole punch in it and I put it in there.
Then I would suggest storing them somewhere you can easily access them and actually get them out to show them off to family and friends.
3. Greeting Cards
On to greeting cards, or cards of some sort. There are two, really good options for this.
One of them is a photo keepsake box. So they have really cute photo boxes at Walmart and Hobby Lobby. There’s a little metal label holder in the front of it and it comes with a little piece of paper that you can write greeting cards on. This is a really neat way to keep all of your cards.
The other thing that I love too is to hole punch the corner of them and put them on a ring. Then if you have a bookshelf space, you can stack them neatly inside of a basket. You can use that as a sort of keepsake box for all the cards you get from your grandparents, parents, kiddos, and husband or significant other.
Get Your Papers Organized
That my friends is how I manage all of my paper. And I know it doesn’t seem like rocket science, and it’s really not. So don’t make it harder than it has to be. Throw things away as often as you possibly can and start where your clutter is.
Go to the space where your piles keep piling up and figure out where the breakdown is happening. And try to insert some of these specific steps that I laid out today. That way you can get out from underneath the clutter and on your way to stop hoarding paperwork and getting organized.
If you are reading this post, days or even months after it has come out, you can go over inside the Systemize Your Life Facebook group and you can type in the search bar organizing or paper organization and it will come up right away. You can see my pictures and hopefully, you guys are willing to share your pictures of what your paper filing systems and organization look like to you.