I’m so proud of myself!
One of my goals this year was to organize myself. I’m a semi-organized person, but I tend to pile instead of file. No matter how many “filing systems” I try to put into place, I always end up piling! And then, despite the best intentions, the piles take over my counter!
My outlook on pilers like me started to change after I read the book “Organizing for the Creative Person.” The words were music to my ears: There’s nothing wrong with my desire to pile! It’s part of who I am – like being right handed.
I decided right then and there to stop working against my piles and start working with my piles.
A second epiphany hit while reading blogs about organizing paperwork. Files don’t have to be stagnant. Paperwork doesn’t have to go there to die, never to be seen again. Files can be fluid – a place to move things in and out of as necessary.
My world, officially, was rocked!
With that knowledge, I created a home organizing binder. I loosely based it off of IHeart Organizing’s concepts. She has great printables.
The big exception…. drum roll please… I bought clear plastic zipper sleeves to PILE my paperwork!
My Home Binder
I decided to buy a pretty binder from Target so that it looks nice on my counter. I find my myself flipping through it a couple times a day, so I wanted to make sure that it was easily accessible and that I liked how it looked.
Here’s how my piling system works:
In the first pocket I pile incoming mail (no bills – they go in a different pile) and stamps. Once a week, when I do my bills or other paperwork, I go through this pile.
Behind that is a weekly to-do list of home stuff (cleaning, grocery shopping, etc) so I know which day I’m going to do it.
Tab One: Spending. This houses my shopping lists (I write down as I think of what to buy), a pile of recipes to try (tried and true recipes are in a box on my counter), a business card sleeve with coupons for specific businesses, and two folders where I pile coupons for food and household items. Since I only shop for household stuff once every four to six weeks, this helps save time when I just need to look for current grocery coupons.
Tab Two: Bills. Here I put my bill check list and my bills. I also put envelopes and a print-out of company addresses or phone numbers. Bills to pay are piled in a clear zipper sleeve.
Tab Three: Budget. I have a weekly ledger so I can keep track of my spending habits. I’ve noticed that when I write down what I spend, I’m much better about being on budget. I also have a weekly list to see if I’m up or down in certain areas; that’s normal, since I only go to certain stores once a month. I also have a pile (a smaller one — an envelope with holes punched in the side) for receipts for the month.
Tab Four: Fun. A pile for fun things to go do – right now, that includes a coupon for a rodeo and (you can’t see it) a note about a photo exhibit I want to see. When I get tickets for an event, that will go in this pile.
Tab Five: Health. A check list for annual doctor’s appointments and a piece of paper for notes – a place for me to write down symptoms and/or questions as I think of them. I’ll place any paperwork (unfilled prescriptions, etc) in the corresponding pile.
Tab Six: Creative. Ideas for projects, crafts, photos, blogs – really, whatever I think about. When I see something in a magazine that I like, I tear it our and pile it here until I can decide if I’m actually going to do it.
Tab Seven: Growth. This is my most ambiguous pile. So far it contains my library to-read list and notes on my organizing ideas.
Tab Eight: Birthdays and Events. A pile for birthday cards, thank you cards – plus a list of birthdays and addresses. I love writing thank you notes, so this makes it easy and convenient.
The big trick will be keeping my piles fluid: As new coupons or events or bills or receipts come in, old coupons or events or bills or receipts come out. Items I want to keep go into a separate binder.