Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

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Harriet
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Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby Harriet » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:37 pm

NEA Papertamer Cartoon.jpg


Get out the Pith Helmet and hold the chair out quick, because the Paper Tiger (Lion?) is roaring around the house and needs to be tamed!! For the "Tame By April" thread, blessedw2 was a whirlwind of encouragement and great example. Many thanks to her!

Let's tame all that paper with our mid-year "tidy" together. Join us here in this thread as we hold off the paper, in its many forms, that is stalking our efficient homes. We'll simplify our lives.

Tell us :idea: what routines do you recommend? What systems are working? What supplies are MUST haves? You have no idea how swamped sister paper tamers may be... ...

Just think of all the paper chores ... ... :shock:

Mailbox dailies
Thank you notes
Bill paying
Financial plan
A clear desk?
Refrigerator art
Magazines
Office supplies
Greeting cards to send
Greeting cards received
A filing system? ( :lol: )
Medical records
Catalogs
Stash 'n Dash recovery!

(breathe)

That list could go on and on. Better take charge.
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Sunny
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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby Sunny » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:29 pm

You chose a good graphic for this thread, Harriet.

This week I will aim my paper taming talents at dh's medical papers. They do add up! He got a call from his INR nurse yesterday regarding the blood test he had this week showing his level was too high (twice what it should have been). She asked if he had the report from Feb of 2014.... :o . I had that paper, but it was in a stack of papers not filed yet about 6 inches high. So I separated all those printouts from the main stack and put them in order by date.

The other papers are reports from medicare and insurance and rx reports. I have to separate these, put in order by date and I file these in a binder. Some of his drs. give him a printout of the results of blood tests and the office visit; these I file under each dr. name.
Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. --- Francis of Assisi

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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby blessedw2 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:45 pm

I love love love the picture d Harriet!
it is always a joy to be here with you!

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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby blessedw2 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:46 pm

I need to work on papers again for a tidy! thank you.

Hello d sunny too!
it is always a joy to be here with you!

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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby lucylee » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:53 pm

Harriet said I should report over here. I have DEFINITELY made HUGE progress at taming a whole HERD of paper tigers like she illustrated! (What do you call a bunch of tigers? A pride? Like lions? LOL... y'all know what I mean!) There are still a few roaming around, but they have calmed down considerable and they seem to recognize my position as leader of the pack.

Dmom's house was such a total wreck where paperwork was concerned. I think it is definitely the perfectionism gene working overtime there, and when she couldn't do it like she wanted to do it, she just said "to **** with it." As a retired accountant and former bank compliance officer, dmom would dearly love to track every single teeny tiny expenditure. And she would like to do it on the computer. However, her back problems make it impossible for her to spend long hours sitting at the computer, her eyes bother her somewhat, and she doesn't like the software installed on her computer at the current time.

She finally DID get 90% of her bills on auto-pay, so she knows they are taken care of, and she generally has enough money in the bank that she does not have to worry about over-drawing.

This had led to a situation where LOTS of mail has not even been OPENED. Bills, bank statements, junk mail from everything you can imagine... all just gets piled on her desk. Occasionally, she gets a burst of energy and takes the days mail to the coffee table. As best I can tell, this has been going on since the beginning of the year!

I was trying to sort it out, discard the junk, etc etc... and I finally realized I was not going to be able to spend enough time at her house doing that... so I just picked up all the paper on the desk and coffee table and tossed it into a plastic storage bin. I sorted out the greeting cards and memo pads and magazines. There was another cardboard box (banker’s box?) with a huge pile of “stuff to be filed,” as well. All the newspapers were put in a bag at the back door for our newspaper man to pick up for recycling. (He is the man who is supposed to be taking up carpet at dmom’s today.)

DH didn't really like the decorative addition of the plastic bin and assorted file folders stacked right inside our back door, and he suggested I take the work with me to the hospital and/or rehab center, where it seemed I was spending all my time anyway.

Sooo... I decided my goal would be 25 pieces of paper each day... plus whatever current mail I picked up at her house 2-3 times per week.

That worked pretty well, and I was just concentrating on opening envelopes, sorting into a box “to file” and discarding junk, and separating another stack of stuff to pay and/or ask dmom about.
(I have written approx. a dozen checks in the past week or so, getting things caught up.)

Last night when we got home from our trip, I decided I’d do 75 pieces of paper, since I had been gone 3 days.
Well, I got on a roll and finished everything that was left in the ENTIRE BOX.
Then I sorted into stacks – A/B/C, etc… This meant All-State Insurance papers are now in a file folder with A(our state) Dept of Revenue, etc etc… but it is a beginning.
THEN, I started going through each letter file…printing labels on the label maker so All-State Insurance gets its own folder (with papers chronologically arranged in it) and State Dept of Revenue has its own folder, etc.

SIX HOURS LATER – I have about half the alphabet completed.

I am going to Wmart to buy a box with hanging files and get this completed so between the two of us, maybe we can keep dmom’s life a little bit better organized.

* If you have been following PWYC, you know I have volunteered my services to dmom as a secretary once a week. She is the world’s worst procrastinator, and it has finally become obvious to me that even before this latest setback with her health, her back pain has just made it impossible for her to manage her life.

Sorry this is so long, but maybe it will give someone hope that you, too, can climb a Mt. Everest of paperwork. I wish I had before and after pictures to show y’all. If anything was overwhelming, this was it.
Tomorrow is another day.

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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby Harmony » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:10 pm

I had to chime in, seeing how I spend so much time keeping the tiger around here tamed. Harriet, I love the picture. I should print it out and put it over my desk!

Lucylee, sounds like a good system. Sounds like you are creating a new system. Did she not have anything in place before? Before her months of not being able to deal with her paperwork, what did she do with papers? I only ask because if she already has something in place, now she will have 2 - which will be confusing to her someday. But maybe if she does, yours is better organized..

I get in trouble when I have multiple places to put the same information. I have a medical binder for each of us, but also a medical folder where I keep lab results, etc. Sometimes I forget just where a certain thing is.

All the time I'm thinking of the someday time when I won't have business records and just what I'll keep, what I'll discard, where I'll keep this stuff, how long to keep... I suppose I'm living my life wishing the next 3 years away.

This year I've already started on end of the year stuff, because the way this year has gone it threatens to be overwhelming. Sometime before we retire I hope to get some of our bills on auto pay so we will be able to take off and still manage things here. Right now I have a pile of filing to do. I use a tickler file. It's a long narrow stiff vinyl/plastic thing with a tab for each letter and I go through and put each paper in the slot, then I carry the whole thing back here to the file cabinets and put in the a-z files. It's a fast way to do all the filing. Paperless...don't know how people do that. I guess they have more computer faith than I do.

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lucylee
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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby lucylee » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:40 pm

I'm pretty much just following her system, Harmony. She tries to keep each YEAR in a separate bankers box, I think, and the current year (I think) in desk drawer. However... Desk drawer still held 2012 -- and personal taxes had not been filed for that year!!!
She just forgot about it while she was in Houston, and had me take business files to her accountant, but personal files totally slipped her mind.

So, I guess we could say there has really been no system for the last 3 years?

2013 & 14 are kinda completely filed and -- I THINK -- taxes were done for those years. 2015 just fell apart when she had bladder surgery in Feb.

I have seen tickler files that work like our p&p 3x5 files, and I think that would be a great thing for her, bc she is constantly putting papers in piles and losing things as the piles consume each other. But -- I doubt at this point that she would have the discipline to check that each day. I might try it though.

I may have more or less "named" files than she would, but I think she will be able to find things.
Tomorrow is another day.

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Harmony
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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby Harmony » Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:30 am

Wow, the tax thing needs to be cleared up. Sooner or later someone will have to deal with that.

Ok, here is the tickler file I use:
http://tinyurl.com/p2w6yhm
hopefully that works.

I can get a huge stack of files into alphabetical order pretty quickly. Course, I know the system I use is antiquated when my items are all over ebay for cheap! I have multiple things that go in my alpha file folders, for instance in A is accounting, advertising, aluminum. At the end of the year I separate them and staple like ones together. But in the meantime it's easier to find something in a file of 3 things than in a big huge stack of everything. Other things I separate when the file would be too big. I have Insurance files separated into 4 files: home & flood; auto & trucks; workers comp; general liability. I just put the papers under the I in the file and when I get to the cabinet separate it there.

I guess it doesn't so much matter whatever system we set up, the important thing is that we use that system. My tip would be to not let it get too much ahead of myself. I try to do my filing when I get a stack about 3 inches. Otherwise it is annoying finding things.

This is probably too much for the average home office. But I've been doing this ever since I took over the office. I was NOT doing marathon filing sessions like DH had been doing.

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lucylee
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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby lucylee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:51 am

Yep, I'm in the marathon part of it all now. But making progress feels sooo good!!!

The 2012 tax stuff... yeah. The CPA has all that now.

I told dh tonight, I can understand why dbil charged so much for his time now, b/c if I really had to get to the bottom of all this -- close out accounts and contact all these people to make sure all debts were settled, etc... sheesh. That would be a HUGE job. I'm just getting it all ORGANIZED, and that is kinda enjoyable for me. I up to the P's now... sorting the letters into the sub-categories and getting the papers in chronological order, making labels for file folders as I go.

I haven't looked at your tickler file yet but thanks for posting it! I will get to that ASAP!!!
Tomorrow is another day.

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Re: Paper Tamers' Mid-Year Tidy and Challenges, 2015

Postby lucylee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:42 pm

Harmony -- do papers stay put pretty tight in that tickler file? It seems like they might be sliding out all the time. I don't know if that's what I want or not... I was thinking more on the lines of an expansion file box, like our 3x5 boxes, but big enough for mail... hmmm...
I kinda like that this one puts everything out where you can see it, but otoh, it seems like it would take a lot of desk/counter space.
... Thinking...
Tomorrow is another day.


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