Saturday, July 14, 2012

Organizing our busy life *Part One: The mail

Part One - The mail
Part Two - The calendar
Part Three - The home management notebook (coming soon)
Part Four - The teachers notebook (coming soon)
Part Five - Our finances (coming soon)

About three months ago I found a great post from A bowl full of lemons blog on pinterest on how to organize mail

I did not have a good way to organize the mail and papers the kids brought home from school. I also spent a lot of time trying to find certain information that I should have had in one place. The only thing I had going on right was a good calendar system.

So here is how I organize my busy life and that of my family. Starting with incoming mail and papers.

Here is my version.

This basket is on top of a little table next to the kitchen.  The organic feel of the basket and folders makes this very appealing to me.  I liked it a lot more than the wire or plastic filing storage containers.

I purchased these pretty folders from Target. They came with labels and an online template to print. Since the labels were not on a whole sheet of paper, I taped the labels to a whole sheet of paper for ease of printing. Just tape them to a corner of your 8.5x11 sheet of paper.  Print on plain paper to see how to tape and feed the paper.

I made the following categories:
- To pay
- To file
- To read
- Coupons
- One for my daughter
- One for my school age son
- Return to school

In the 'to pay' I put any bill even if it is auto paid. This way I file all of the statements at the beginning of the month.

I use this little file for the monthly bills and only keep one year worth of statements.

In the 'to file' folder, I place anything that comes in that I've read that just needs to be filed in my bigger file system. Not bills and not children's work. (retirement statements, tax papers, medical letters, insurance papers, etc)
Here is where I put the papers that need to be filed.  It is a small hand held plastic file storage that I can place under my desk.  Also purchased at target.

In the 'to read' folder I have things like newsletters, brochures, things that I need to read for the kids school, etc.

The 'coupons' folder contains all coupons and discounts that come in the mail or I get when shopping. I am not into heavy couponing so this is a simple system.

The 'kids' folder. Completed school work and art work that comes home I will put it in their individual folder. We take pictures of all of their art work.
A few special pieces get framed but most goes in the trash after a picture has been taken. I will be making a Digital book of their Artwork by year.
Other work and a few pieces of art work will go in their school file. One file folder per child per year.

'Return to school' - the kids Thursday folders and anything else that goes back to school and fits in the folder.

This system has worked so great. I've had it in place for over five months and it has cleared off my counter and kept me sane!  I no longer shuffle papers endlessly thinking about what to do with them.


Debt Free Mommy said...

It's Party Time over at Debt Free Mommy Blog and you are invited! Please come link up anything related to making your space better at and mark your calendars for every Making Space Mondays linky party. The fun begins at 9:00 pm tonight. Hope to see you there!

amberbarraclough said...

love this! i still need to get a system in place for our mail/piles of paper. this is a great idea :-)

amberbarraclough said...

love this! i still need to put together a system for all of our mail/paper piles - this is a great idea :-)

Debt Free Mommy said...

I really love your little file basket. It does look more "organic". I'll have to make myself something like that for the new house. Thanks for linking up at Making Space Mondays. I hope we see you there next week! -Tabitha

Gigi said...

Thank you Amber. It has worked very well for us.