Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teachable Moment Tuesday: How to Organize Paperwork (and keep it that way!)

photo taken from Challenge Consulting blog

If you are anything like me (and hopefully for your own mental health and well-being, you're not!), then you are one of those people constantly caught panicking because you just know that you set that bill from the dentist "right there", and now you can't find it.  Not only can you not find it, but you've convinced yourself that it is past due, and the credit companies are going to but a big, fat "late payment" on your impeccable credit rating, and you will never be able to buy a car, a home, or even get loans for your children's education-EVER.  You waste hours of precious time and energy searching everywhere for that bill, only to find it exactly where you thought you had put it...hiding underneath several other things that you forgot you also stacked on top of it so that you wouldn't forget where they were...have you ever been there?  Well if so, I am here to tell you that I have come across a solution on an awesome blog called Simple Mom, and I can't wait to share it with you!

The Tickler File

Photo taken from Simple Mom website

Have you ever heard of a "Tickler File"?  Sounds pretty weird, huh?  Well, apparently they have been in use for many years in places such as law offices, government and accounting agencies, and other places that deal with time-sensitive documents.  They were named "tickler files" as a reference to the fact that they "tickle" one's memory, or remind them about important things.  At least that is what Wikipedia told me...

Anywho-I came across this entry on the Simple Mom website, and let me tell you, our piles of cluttered paperwork and days of hopeless searching for bills, invitations, and receipts are over!  You really must check out the original blog post, but I will briefly explain how we use out tickler file to keep all of our paperwork in check :).

First, you will need 12 tabbed files, and you will need to label each with a month of the year, as seen above.  Some people get all super duper crazy meticulous about it, and even get an additional 31 folders, one for each day of the month.  We chose not to do that, because I know it would cause more angst and severe heart palpitations to be constantly flipping through 31 folders to figure out which one I put the needed document in, but you do whatever works best for you :).  

You have essentially done all of the work you need to do to set up your system!  Now, anytime you get a bill, an invitation, concert tickets, whatever-you just stick it in the corresponding month (you got an invitation to your 3rd cousin's wedding in September?  No problem!  Put it in the September folder NOW!).  The original blog post recommends then placing a reminder about the bill, invitation, or ticket on your calendar for the specific date, and then putting a "T" next to it to remind you that the original document is in the tickler.  See image from Simple Mom website below:

I am so glad that someone shared this awesome blog post with me, as it has saved us so much time and energy since we began using it last year.  I truly hope that you find this system to be useful in your home!  

I am in no way affiliated with anyone at Simplemom.net, and I am in no way being compensated to share this information from that website.  They have no idea who I am, and probably never will!  I'm just one Mama sharing advice I got from another Mama somewhere out there in internet land, in hopes that it helps bring a little more peace and organization to your home :).  

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