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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Command Centre: Wall Files for Papers


Command Centre:  Wall Files for Papers | fromoverwhelmedtoorganized.blogspot.com

Do you have piles of paper on your kitchen counter, dining room table, or in your entryway?

You know the papers I mean?  Those things that come in your house every. single. day.  Like bills, invitations, and flyers.  Or school work, newsletters, and permission forms.  Or receipts and coupons.

All those things you need to do something with.  At some point.  But not right away.  So you put them in a pile to deal with later.

And the pile gets moved a few times because you need the space for something else.  Like cooking or eating :)

Then when you need something, you can't find it and have to scramble around as you're running out the door.  Or you have to pay late fees because you forgot to pay a bill.  Or you can't return something because you can't find the receipt.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Even for those of us who like organizing, the daily accumulation of paper is a huge challenge.  It just keeps on entering our homes!

If you don't have a solution for dealing with those daily papers, you'll  easily be overwhelmed by it.

I'm embarrassed to show this, but here was where some of our paperwork ended up.





Not pretty I tell ya!  And I don't have a picture of the piles of papers on our kitchen table or living room table or on the floor near our front door, but trust me, they were frequently in any or all of those places.

So how can you turn an overwhelming mess of paper into something organized?

There are lots of ways to deal with paper.  A few months ago I'd had enough of the mess.  I decided to set up a command centre to help me deal with our daily papers.

I am amazed at the difference it's made in our home!

As part of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series, I showed you several great examples of command centres.  I've also got lots of inspirational photos on my Entryways, Drop Zones & Command Centres board on Pinterest.

Follow From Overwhelmed To Organized's board Entryways, Drop zones & Command Centres on Pinterest.

Based on what I'd seen for inspiration, and on what kinds of papers were causing me to feel most overwhelmed, I put together our command centre.

Over the next few weeks I'll be showing you details about all the bits and pieces of my Command Centre.  Today I'm showing you the piece that has made the most difference:  my hanging file holders.



Isn't that a thing of beauty?  It definitely is to me... at least compared to those piles of papers :)

I originally wanted to use these double file pockets from Martha Stewart's collection.

Source
They're so pretty!  But I knew I needed several of them and they would have taken up too much wall space for the area I had.

So I bought clear plastic holders instead.  They were on sale and I returned some items that I decided not to use, so they actually didn't cost me anything!

Source
They hold a lot of papers in a relatively small amount of wall space, which is important since I didn't have a lot to work with {more on that in a later post}.

I decided on 6 categories of folders.  I actually just used Post-It notes for labels for a month or two until I decided exactly what I wanted.  That way I could adjust things as we used it and easily add or remove or change categories {which I did!}.

Here's what I ended up with:

  • School - This folder contains any paperwork related to the kids' school including this year's handbook, the most recent newsletter, the current month's calendar, information about field trips or upcoming events, notices that I need to refer to, etc.  I originally had one school folder for each of my kids but since they currently go to the same school I found one folder worked better.
  • Activities and Special Events - My kids aren't involved in a lot of activities right now but I needed a place for invitations, notices about sports, or registration forms for other activities.  As they get older I'm sure we'll use this folder more and maybe even add separate folders for each kid or each activity.
  • Receipts - This folder is really a way to help keep my hubby's credit card receipts "hidden" from sight.  SO much better than the messy piles they used to cause!  {Remember them from that earlier picture?!}  I have envelopes inside this folder for each of our credit cards and I shred them once a month after I compare them to the bill (except for any that we need to keep for returns or warranty purposes which I file away).
  • Coupons - We're not huge couponers but we do like to save a bit here and there.  Again, these were usually stored haphazardly on that messy shelf.  But sometimes they expired because we forgot we had them.  Now they all have a home in this folder and I've clipped them together by month that they expire.  We can still use any of them whenever we want but at the beginning of the month I'll pull out the ones that expire that month so we can make sure we use them up.  It's not as complex as some coupon systems out there but it works for us!
  • Loyalty cards - We don't have a ton of these either but we didn't really have a good place to keep them so they were in various places around the house {including that messy shelf!}.  Sometimes we couldn't find them when we wanted them.  But now they have a home.  And we use them more often, which is why we signed up for them in the first place :)
  • Tickets and gift cards - Again, these were scattered in several places of our kitchen before but now they are all together.  I started a list inside the folder with the balances on each gift card so I don't have to look it up.  I also keep tickets or vouchers from sites like Groupon so we know where they are when we want to use them.  

So that's my new paper storage system!  I can't believe I didn't do something like this earlier.  It's so much less cluttered and I know where everything is.  And because I go through these folders at least monthly I remind myself of what's in them.  

Here's another look at this part of my command centre.  It just makes me smile :)


You can see bits of the kids' routine lists beside it, our calendar above it, and the kids' backpacks below it.  Stay tuned for more on these and other elements of our command centre!

If you have lots of papers without "homes", then spend some time figuring out how you can group them and store them in a way that will help you keep track of them without adding clutter to your home.

How do you organize the papers that enter your home daily?  

Happy organizing!



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Here are all the posts in this series:








23 comments:

  1. Love it! Nice job. I'm working on our paper clutter soon. I've been wanting a bill scanner for awhile so we finally pulled the trigger on that and it should be here in the next week. (Fuji ScanSnap) I intend to scan everything that I want/need into the system and then eliminate the paper. I think I'll still have to work out a system to keep some of the paper you mention - school things, etc - but overall we'll be paperless. I am so excited. I'm also building a binder of important information for us, just in case something happens to us. I'm using Andrea's guide here http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2013/01/14/how-i-store-and-organize-our-important-info-free-printables/ I love this idea and I ordered a binder just like hers to organize it. Can't wait!

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    1. Going paperless is a great idea Melissa! I've done that with most of our bills (plan to do the rest soon!) which is why I didn't put a folder for bills to pay. I haven't gotten to the point of scanning receipts yet but I may convince my hubby to buy me a bill scanner for my next birthday (love practical gifts!) :) I love Andrea's site too and if you follow her tips your paperwork will be super organized. Good luck and let me know how that scanner works for you! Thanks for your comments and tips.

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  2. I love the fact that you've colour-coded your file folders. I've done the same with mine, and it makes it so much easier to find the one you need!

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    1. Thanks Janet! It really does help, especially for visual people :)

      I originally had different coloured folders for each family member plus a couple other folders, but I found it wasn't very helpful to have the papers organized that way. So I switched it to the folders you see in the pictures. Gotta love the fluid nature of organizing :)

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  3. Hilda, thank you for sharing a view of your mess FIRST! LOL Your mess looked like MY mess the other day. I have a puppy and spending much time in my office is nigh-on-to-impossible. She gets into everything. So, the papers piled up and up. Last week I swept them all up in a laundry basket, brought them to my clean kitchen counter and sorted, pitched, filed. Felt GREAT!

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    1. Just keeping it real with the messes Sinea :) For some reason people think my house is super organized and clean... but it's not! I'm getting there with the organizing part (not a fan of cleaning LOL).

      That was a great solution for dealing with your papers. I can't imagine organizing with a puppy... I have a hard enough time with a hubby & 2 kids :)

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  4. Thanks so much for this system of organization. I originally thought of putting a riser on the island in the kitchen but then I got further inspired by you and am going to use the back of the pantry drawer for the shelves you have!!! Where did you get them?

    You are doing a wonderful job,

    Naomi

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    1. Thanks Naomi! I got them at Staples. A pantry door would be a perfect place... uses vertical space AND it's hidden! Feel free to send me before and after pictures and I can feature you on the blog. Good luck organizing your paperwork :)

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  5. I've seen so many great organization posts. I really need to pull it together!!

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    1. You can do it Diana! Let me know if you need help with anything.

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  6. LOVE it! You can post this and any of your other organization endeavors on Tuesdays with my new link party The Shame Files: Organize of Else. I'd love to have you!


    http://shorthistoryofnow.blogspot.com/2013/01/ill-breathe-again-shame-files.html

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    1. Thanks Shannon! I'm sorry I missed that party (I'm pretty behind on my comments) but I subscribed to your blog and would love to join in the next one!

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  7. I love this! The wall mount file holders are such a great way to utilize the vertical space. I have my eye on a few different styles that I want to get for different areas of the home. I love that yours have room to hold a lot of papers. The Martha Stewart ones are pretty and slim, but when I was looking at them the other day, they didn't look like they would hold much.

    I love that you color coded the folders inside. That must make it so easy to get to what you need quickly! I can't wait to see the other elements!!!

    Alli

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    1. Thanks Alli! There are so many options out there but these were the ones I thought would be best for what I needed. Martha's say they hold 100 pages if I remember correctly, but they didn't seem like they actually would. Pretty is nice but not if it isn't as functional :)

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  8. Really must do something like this - our current solution just not working

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    1. It's good to recognize when something isn't working rather than just trying to live with it. Good luck working out the best solution for you! Let me know if I can help at all.

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  9. Put your loyalty cards on a keyring

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    1. That's a great tip Marcy! It would help keep them together so none get lost. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Those sorters are so fantastic! Love how you put them to use!

    xo,
    Jen

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    1. Thanks Jen! I'm really happy with how it turned out. Thanks for all your inspiring ideas!

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing, Hilda! Great ideas for sure!

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    1. Thanks Mary! I love not having paperwork piles everywhere :)

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  12. That would be perfect for the paperwork I send home for my daycare families! One for each child and the parents could just grab their child's folder on the way out on Fridays. Thank y o u for such a terrific idea!

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I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)