Ever since I started this blog back in 2014, I've shared lots of posts about getting your paperwork organised. Why the big focus on this particular topic? Well, I believe paperwork can be one of the most frustrating things to try to stay in control of and, if it gets out of hand, can really feel like it's taking over the house! Creating some simple yet functional systems that suit your family's needs will not only prevent the paper clutter from building, but will also help you feel more in control of your space. In today's post, I'm rounding up all of my paperwork organising ideas in one handy spot. I've also created a free workbook to help you get started on your paperwork organising journey!
One of the best ways to start getting back in control of the paperwork clutter is to create a home for all things related to sorting, filing, schedules and tasks. This 'organisation zone' [or family command centre] should be set up in a high traffic area so it is easy to 'drop and go', but doesn't need to take up a lot of space - it could be as simple as an unused corner or blank wall. Get some inspiration from these great set-ups...
And see how I set up our own family command centre right here - this is one of my most-watched videos on YouTube, so hopefully you can find some useful ideas too! (Psst.... Stay tuned for the family command centre challenge coming to the blog soon, where you'll be guided on how to set up your own home organisation zone in 7 simple steps. Watch this space!)
Once you've got a simple command centre set up, you're going to have to work out a system for organising and sorting incoming paperwork that suits the needs of you and your family. My simple but effective folder system still works like a charm, by following an easy method of categorizing and prioritizing tasks. Of course, any functional paperwork system also involves some sort of filing system for all those important documents. Read about how I created our filing system using colour-coded files to make everything easy to find and quick to access.
Don't forget about having some sort of system for storing and organising your tax records. I prefer to keep ours out of the filing cabinet as they take up so much room, and I shared our zip-folder organisation in the video below.
Another essential part of staying on top of the paperwork, is having a visible schedule so that you know what's coming up for each family member, as well as the things you need to remember. I use a family calendar with a column for each person, along with a brightly-covered cork board to display invitations, upcoming events and important to-do's.
My to-do list is mapped out using a Master Planning List, and a weekly planner. I prioritize my top 3 tasks for each day, so I feel I've achieved something if I manage to complete at least one, although I do aim for all 3! I set aside one day of the week for sorting through paperwork and completing related tasks (usually a Monday or Friday). This is a great method because it means you're not having to do those time-consuming tasks everyday, but instead using a 'batching' method to complete them all in one hit.
Compiling important information (such as phone numbers, policy numbers, medical information and house-related info) and putting it all together in a household binder, is truly one of the biggest time-savers. I showed you how I created our household binder here and also how we created our finance binder. Both binders have had a lot of use over the past year, so I know just how incredibly useful and worthwhile these would be for you to create for your own household!
BONUS: Get your workbook on the button below that will help you set goals and priorities for creating more organised paperwork systems for your home!
Paperwork can come in many forms, including items of sentimental value, such as cards and letters. I suggest creating a simple memory box for each family member as a way to preserve these memories, but make sure the box is not too large or you'll be tempted to hold onto every piece of paper! Try to keep it to just those really special memories. Children's artwork is another big paper culprit. The system I set up for storing my kids' artwork is still going strong and keeps everything fairly well contained.
Staying on top of paperwork organisation also comes down to having the right tools and supplies in your home. I outlined those essentials here, including an organised supply of stationery so you're not always running around the house searching for the various supplies when filling out forms or writing a letter.
And last of all, you'll need a collection of creative and interesting ideas to get you inspired to get your paperwork organised! I rounded up the best ideas in this post to show you that no matter the size of your home, or the space you have to work with, there are lots of ideas for how to set up organised paperwork systems.
Feeling ready to get back in control of your paper clutter? Which area will you start with first? Don't forget to grab your free workbook to get started on your paperwork organising journey...just click on the button below!