Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tame the Paper Monster

Paper clutter is a big problem in many homes today. Between bills, junk mail, and papers sent home from school it is easy to let the paper work get out of control. Check out these genius ideas for taming the paper monster and keeping your home and family organized.

Organize your mail as it comes in the door. This genius mail sorter at A Bowl Full of Lemons has several files for incoming and outgoing mail, to file, to pay, and coupons. She even included a file for each family member. Attach a calender to the front with binder clips, place a recycling bin near by to toss your junk mail and you are all set.

Lyndsy at The Simply Small Project uses Sterlite drawers she found at Target to keep her paper sorted and off of the counter. These can be used for so many item. Use them to store coupons, kids artwork, your Home Management Binder, papers waiting to be files, bills that need to be paid, or just about anything else you can think of. You can even dedicate a drawer to unsorted mail. At least it will be out of the way and not scattered over your kitchen counter.

Set up a Home Management Binder. This is the perfect way to keep track of bills to be payed, medical information, shopping list, daily chores, and so much more. The best part about keeping all these papers in a single binder is that in the case of an emergency, it is so easy to grab it and take it with you. Click HERE for TONS of free printables to make your own Home Management Binder.

It's amazing the amount of paperwork that kids bring home from school. Without a proper system in place the school paperwork can get out of control. Kristina at Organize this Family assigns each child their own file box. You can label the files any way you like to suit your own family needs. Organize report cards, art work, photos, newspaper articles about your child just to name a few.

In order to keep your paper stacks to a minimum you will need to go through them often and toss or shred papers that you no longer need. Here is a quick run through of what you should keep and for how long.

  • ATM receipts and deposit slips after they’ve been reconciled with your bank statement
  • Monthly and quarterly bank statements if year-end statements are received
Keep for 3 years:
  • Income-related documents, such as invoices, cash register tapes, credit card charge slips, bank deposit slips, 1099s and W2s
  • Proof of deductible purchases and expenses, such as receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, mileage logs, and credit card slips or statements
  • Receipts for charitable contributions
Keep for Six Years:
  • The IRS recommends keeping filed state and federal tax returns for six years
  • Payroll records
Keep Indefinitely:
  • Partnership documents
  • Contractual agreements, such as vendor relationships, marketing, or commission and royalty structures
  • Property records, including intellectual property, for as long as you own the asset plus three years after year of the tax return that includes its sale
  • Deeds and titles

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