The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

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Harmony
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Harmony » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:42 pm

I read the article linked above. No specific instructions given.

Really, I think the trick is to just put in the time. We don't like spending time on papers, seems so unproductive. But spend an hour looking for a paper or a piece of information and that might change your mind.

My plastic folder holder I keep in the kitchen to corral all the stuff all over the kitchen table does not offer any benefit except for a neat place to keep all the mess. That's the way DH keeps his stuff and I am the only one who stuffs papers in the folders. I think we've only gone diving in there once or twice in all this time looking for something.

Can't imagine having the papers like Lucylee has. DH empties his pockets on the kitchen island, receipts all balled up, papers, etc. and if I don't keep them moved they get wet from overspray from the kitchen faucet which is also in that island. The mess annoys me and feels stressful.

To put my paperwork in perspective, in 2018 I wrote out $340,302.00+ of checks just for the business. Receipts galore, which I copy to put in job folders ready for billing, etc. Most of those checks were less than $100, some less than $20. Only a few were a thousand $. Which does not even include the work of billing, banking, statements, permit and plan work (huge job) and payroll and tax work.

And all I can think about is sitting down to work my newest jigsaw puzzle! DD bought me a beautiful flower shop one that we've decided would be nice glued together and framed for spring & summer.

But first I have to finish getting my tax stuff together and the rest of my stuff for my insurance audit which should happen next month.

Someone somewhere surely has a good system for paperwork. I will do a search.. Ok I did search around and I find cutesy little gadgets for organizing one's paperwork, baskets for caroling recyclables, stuff like that. And tips for dealing with mail, catalogs, magazines, receipts. I think your system should be your own, because we all have different needs and use things differently. It comes back down to putting in the time. And keeping it up. Not helpful, I know, but that's all I got.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:23 am

Harmony wrote:Really, I think the trick is to just put in the time. We don't like spending time on papers, seems so unproductive. But spend an hour looking for a paper or a piece of information and that might change your mind.



Putting in time is the key. And you can spend time making up systems and rearranging the mess, or you can just do it and the work is done. But I keep thinking a better system will help me do it.

As for finding things, I don't have to keep as much as you do, so I actually am great at finding things. Since things are piled all over the living and dining rooms, every time I have to do a stash and dash and drop my rolltop desk cover, I go through the papers when I empty off my desk (since my computer keyboard is literally under the papers.) So I do touch and see the papers over and over and know where things are.

For the business, I wrote cheques for under $100K last year but then handled probably 300 individual transactions on the credit card and direct payment from the bank account, for a total of 150 or so through the general journal. My biggest issue is that I need to track email receipts from dh, some the info is in the body of the email, some is an attachment. I used to print off everything but now I rename the email with the receipt number I've assigned that transaction and file carefully in my computer. My personal email is a mess but once a year (when I do the year-end accounting) my business email is pristine.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:36 am

OK, read the article Harriet linked to.

None of the paper stuff was covered in the episode. The editing put everything more on the memories. Which, in a way is a shame, since she was dealing with business papers as well as personal, something that is a challenge for me.

I just realized part of my issue is that the business expenses go on the personal credit card and then I reimburse. That was to get the maximum of airline mileage points, back in the day. That is no longer necessary. I will discuss with dh and see if we need to dedicate a credit card solely to the business.

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Harmony
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Harmony » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:15 pm

Kathryn, your post made me go back and look at my last credit card bill, and it had 43 receipts stapled to it. I'd say that was about normal. I send in 2 checks, 1 from the business account and 1 from our personal. And all that because we get some back at the end of the year.

For cash I keep a file folder and put receipts in there and I reimburse once a month, including a figure from my mileage log which I total and figure out business miles from my personal vehicle.

The reason I copy receipts so much is when we bill people, reconciling the allowances with the exact amounts, I staple the receipt onto the statement. Nobody ever questions any amount we charge because of this. And I never know what extra work DH does when he's out there, and the receipts remind us to bill for the extras too.

I don't think I could corral my paperwork under a roll-top. And that would drive me crazy knowing there was a mess right under the top. I'm a bit ocd that way. That's why I don't like stash & dashes. Sorting out those takes more time than doing it in the first place (I think).

DH keeps things all over the way you do, but he also loses things. And sometimes long times go by till he needs something again. He has a perfectly nice desk space in this office, but rarely uses it. He prefers the kitchen counter and table. He's not wired the way I am.

I don't think household paperwork is much work or trouble at all, as long as one has a system and space for things and puts in a little time. It's the extra stuff that is so problematic, the business stuff, the volunteer and church work so many of us do; maybe medical records if someone in the household is ill (I'm finding that takes more time now as we age and I keep more track of stuff). P&P desk day is a good idea, delegating a specific time to tend to this. Did they do it all in 1 day a week?

I think we should have a dedicated space for this work, not on the work surfaces of regular household living. We don't eat at our kitchen table because of DH's paper habits there. I remember years ago when I had no desk, I had one drawer at the very end of our kitchen. I would put my little calculator from the drawer on the counter, put the bills out on top, and work there. It would all go back inside the drawer when I was done. Not in the way. Not visual unless I was tending to it. It still comes right back to putting in the time.
Last edited by Harmony on Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

catnipper
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby catnipper » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:27 am

While many of us may be scanning and saving documents digitally, I still have a lot of paper to handle. If that's your case, you might want to look up freedomfiler.com. This is a color-coded self-purging filing system (sounds like a spin-off of SHE!) that allows you to organize EVERYTHING you have. The color coding tells you when to purge what's in the file, so it won't become over-stuffed. While this is a $30 investment (they send you pre-printed labels for hanging file folders) you won't regret it. The only regret you'll have is that you didn't do it yesterday.

I managed to shred 12 bags of paper when setting up this system and I still have more to do. So, I am slotting 1 hour every day until I get done. There are also some papers in the garage, but I think most of them can be tossed(shredded) as they are too old for the system. Any bills, tax returns, etc. that are more than 10 years old have no room here. However, pictures, historical documents, letters and other memories can be organized this way. The labels come with blanks for hobbies, projects and other management subjects to corral the papers of your life.

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lucylee
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby lucylee » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:27 pm

OOOHHHH -- I love that, catnipper! I can't use it, b/c dh takes care of all the tax stuff and all the receipts around here, and he has some crazy system that only he understands... but this is definitely something I am going to show my dmom, who is downsizing her filing system -- after having to deal with a bunch of business stuff like Harmony. Dmom finally got to "retire" from that after the death of my ddad 5 1/2 years ago, and she said the other day that she was going to quit doing her complicated system of filing everything.
Tomorrow is another day.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:05 pm

Catnipper: thanks for the recommendation. I just ordered it. And dug out the hanging file folder tabs that I had tossed into the giveaway pile (as per Konmari)!

Konmari has you getting rid of all paperwork. I just can't do it. I'm not comfortable with scanning important documents and tossing the originals. I find it way faster to find information in paper form than on a screen. I'm willing to admit I need to stop saving as much paper as I save, but it seems this system might help be a compromise. Yes, keep, but only for so long.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:00 pm

Wow, my Freedom Filer kit just arrived! I ordered it less than 48 hours ago. AND it was delivered to the wrong apartment (but someone brought it up from the 2nd floor.)

Edited to add much later:

I've now read the booklet and have a bit of understanding how the system works. It recommends you set up the system, then file your papers into it so that will give me a chance to go through each file and weed out what needs to be weeded out.

I'm still thinking about where each group of files will be stored. I have four filing cabinets drawers in the office (combination of personal and business records are filed there) plus a filing drawer in my desk in the living room. And 3 filing frames with paperwork and many, many, binders.

I have to decide if I'm going to move from the binder system to the files only system. That will be a big decision for me.

The local Shred-It for my city has a 'free shredding day' on March 9 (you make a donation to Cancer research) and so that is my deadline for finishing the project.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:49 pm

I set up the tax and active files on Sunday and my desk is still neat on Thursday. A big difference from last week when I did a dash and stash and shut the roll top to hide all the mess when dh had someone come for coffee. Today he did that again and I still dropped the roll top but just because the living room feels more like a living room when I do. Not a single pieces of paper was put into it first, everything was already away, all surfaces in the living room and dining room were clear.

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Harriet
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Re: The Paper Tamer's Desk, 2019

Postby Harriet » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:44 pm

The last of the paperwork to the tax lady today. I think we were right to move along with her to her new firm, where she is a partner now. Although, I had such a good conversation with one of the younger guys at our old firm ... ... But we understand the senior partner there is retiring very soon, and we haven't even met the newer partner, so this is probably best.

It took a lot to get all the paperwork together earlier than usual, and I relied on phoning, emailing, scanning (until that tech failed on us), nagging dd to search for her stuff of course, and two trips. One last piece of info that was worrying me was found (yay) by the tax lady in a previous return's additional paperwork I'd left with her, so that was a relief.

One thing down. It was very important to HRH to get all this off our minds in this "lull" before his next treatment, in case his energy is wiped out for a while. Also, tax lady says it looks like we won't owe much, so that's good news.

Some paperwork organization was very successful around here during all this. Others, not so much. I plan to take this into consideration and tweak some of the files.

Now we know, as well, that we have a problem with scanning all of a sudden. Solving that needs to become a priority.


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