If you effectively deal with papers as they enter your home, you'll eliminate the source of the paper piling compulsion. The best way to purge your piles is to create an Action Center or Tickler File.
All you need is wall or a desk file with the minimum of three containers. If you are excited to get started, don't wait to buy a file, any old basket or decorative box will do. Actually, it is best to start with something you already have. You can customize it as you learn to work with your new system.
Label the tickler containers. Act. Use. File. Keep it simple to start. Once you get into the habit of acting instead of piling you can add more.
Something to consider.
Place your Action Center or Tickler File near your current paper pile up. There is obviously a reason you prefer to pile where you do. It is convenient and we need to keep it that way, for now.
To ensure success.
Make a commitment to review your mail and other papers the minute they enter your home. Don't allow anymore litter to enter your life.
Shred and toss ALL unsolicited advertisements immediately. This type of information is the culprit for the majority of your clutter. You are not going to miss out on the deal of a lifetime. Unless you will use it, toss it.
Open all financial statements and bills. Toss ALL the advertisements inside, for the same reason as stated above. Keep only the statement and the return envelope. Unless you pay on-line, then it is safe to toss the envelope too.
If you receive a magazine or catalog, it's time to toss the old issue. This could be tough for some of you. So, maybe just start by tossing the catalogs. You can probably find what you want online. We can deal with magazine pileups later.
Now, do your Action filing.
The Act container is for items that require action including bills to pay or rsvps.
Place all statements and documents that require no action but need to be saved for tax or other support purposes in the File container.
And finally, place coupons and other references in the Use container. Remember, only if you are actually going to USE them.
That's it. You have the beginning of an Action Center/Ticker File. Add to your center as you and your family become more comfortable with the new system. You may wish to add a container for each child. The earlier you can instill good organizational skills into your children, the easier it will be for the whole family.
Many have found success using a daily Tickler File. This traditional tickler file has 43 folders, 31 days and 12 months. But who says you have to be traditional. Be original and create a tickler file that will work the way you work. We have some great options in our first downloadable product, Tickler : JOYS. The Simple File that Makes Decisions Easy.
More helpful suggestions.
You can make your center more efficient by adding items you regularly use.
- A shredder
- A message board
Make your center more you by using filing containers that fit your style. Many containers available at your local office supply store may not fit your personal decor. Be creative, if beautiful old bowls work for you, use them. Shop at home first. You could also consider...
- A small cabinet
- A 3-drawer chest
- Decorated shoe boxes
- A wall magazine rack
- Wicker Baskets
- Old cup or bowl golf trophies
- Antique wooden boxes
- Old large handbags mounted on the wall
Organizing should be enjoyable and convenient if it is going to be successful. Create an area that tickles you. Get organized by making small changes. Stay organized by making simple decisions.
Need some fun Avery® label templates for your Tickler File and more detailed information? Check out JOYS Tickler File.
Get the Rubbermaid 96061 Six-pocket wall-mount or desk organizer* in the photo above from Amazon.
Visit a Bowl Full of Lemons to see how a number of Toni's readers have creatively created an Action Center (aka mail station, landing pad, family control center) specifically suited to their personal needs and budgets. It is the most comprehensive collection of basic just getting it done Action Centers I have found to date. I share this link because many put off creating this essential center because they are waiting to find the perfection container. But, I encourage you to create the station and the perfect container will find you.
I used the action center pictured above for about 3 years. I never "loved" the way it looked but it worked. Finally, I discover my perfect solution while antique shopping. A old record cabinet was just what I was looking for.