Welcome to the official first week of Simply Your Home to Simply Live!  You can also read last week’s teaser about a radical experiment in time management, if you missed it.

This month is all about processing the paper clutter in your house.   A few weeks ago, I did a review of the M.O.M. System, and today I’m going to share a little bit more detail about how I use it to corral my paper clutter.

I am a piler.  I have piles of stuff everywhere.   As a working girl with no kids, I had piles of paper all over the floors and sparkling counters.  After I had (mobile) kids, I had sparkling floors and disastrous counters.  It took me 2-1/2 years to realize that it was because my floor piles ended up on counters instead.  I have a tendency to get so mired down in how I’ve always done it that it becomes difficult to change it.

Since I own a business, have 2 websites, manage my home, am a board member in a non-profit and homeschool pre-school, my piles tend to take on a life of their own.   This was completely out of control until I got one simple tip out of my M.O.M. System — project cubbies.   Now all my projects have a home.   Me being me, I never could do something exactly as I was told, and so I took the project cubbies and turned it into this:

Previously, I had a home office in a bedroom downstairs and it became difficult if impossible for me to do any work.   My computer, files, and office supplies were downstairs.   My mail & shredder was on the landing.   My current projects were in the kitchen to work on during naptime or while the kids were amusing themselves.   To process the mail, I’d go to the landing and bring it up and sort into piles – shred, recycle, scan, DO/pay, read later, etc.   Then I’d have to take the shred pile back down to the landing, the recycle out to bins on our deck, the scan pile downstairs to the computer, the check book & envies from office to pay bills…Are you getting tired yet?

Over time, I have moved from having an office at home that made my office at work look like a cubical to having a small center that contains all my current processing needs.  I had something that would have been okay, but I’m sick of function without beauty and knew I’d never use it otherwise.   This set of drawers has my larger office supplies on top (pens, 3 hole punch and stapler) as well as my inbox.   I have a drawer for other office supplies (post its, paper clips, letter openers, etc) and one for computer supplies since my main computer is now a laptop that lives next to the couch.  I have a drawer for printer paper & another for scratch paper.   One for scanning & one for filing.   One for lesson plan stuff + 5 days of activities for homeschool preschool.   I also have a drawer for a tickler/future reference and other specialized categories per the M.O.M./GTD System.

Everything I need to process paper clutter is now 2 things:

  • Easily accessible – often with one hand since I am holding a 6 month old a lot of the time, and
  • Where I need them – together in one spot.  Imagine that!

Think about your current paper clutter and processing.

  • What is working?
  • What is NOT working?
  • Where do you do all your work?
  • What would make it better?
  • Is there something that slips by you (NSF fees, late fees, missed opportunities) that you could stop if you had something different?
  • Do you have what you need to fix it?
  • Could using a prettier or more functional something help?
  • Do you find yourself running all over to deal with one thing?
  • Do you have various stages of items needing to be corralled, but aren’t?
  • What is the minimum you need to help make things go smoothly?
  • Do I *HAVE* to do it the way I’ve *BEEN* doing it?

Think outside the box.   Will a kitchen cabinet or drawer work?   A 3-ring binder?  An old dresser?   A sideboard?  A china cabinet?  A coffee table drawer?   A bookshelf?   How do you work and how could you help it work better for you?  Don’t fight against the parts of what you are doing that work for you!   I’m so guilty of trying to compartmentalize when it’s all a part of life.

How do you set your self up for home management success in the area of paper clutter & management?


This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday @ We Are THAT Family.

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