Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Organized #2 - The Paper Purge

 There was a time I did the budget. I wasn't good at it and I never got a handle on the other parts of the important paperwork a family must keep up with. It wasn't good. Steve took over.

Steve got everything done. Usually he' was on time and he rarely gets a late fee, or misses anything.


He's a saver and saves every single paper that he comes across. {I was going to say, every paper that ever comes across his desk, but I got rid of the desk in my zeal for decluttering  and downsizing last year... A move we have not regretted!} He used to have time to file it all.

Not so much anymore.

It was piling up and piling up and he was getting frustrated with himself over never being able to find what he needed.... A few things were late. We missed a few important dates. We had a stack of business/junk mail that hadn't even been opened from May/June/July...

He appealed to me to do something about it.

Every once in a while I would  take one look at the stacks of paper and flee...  Helpful, aren't I? But I couldn't figure out what I was suppose to do with it all.

THEN our bank moved out of town. In fact, Bank of America left this half of the state. We switched over to a small bank right close to home and while we were at it we switch post office boxes to the one close to home. And then the nightmare began.

Everything that could go wrong about transitioning from one bank to another and changing addresses went wrong. We had spent hours changing everything over. All our auto-pay transactions were carefully switched over, but nothing we did went the way we planned it should. NOTHING was getting paid, our insurance company was ready ditch us, as were others. We practically had to do everything ALL over again because the bank that moved into the building Bank of America vacated took some liberties to open accounts for us and reset all our settings for auto-pays, etc.... and of course, there was NO money in those accounts because we didn't know about them.  It took a lot of time on the phone to straighten up our mess with everyone and to try and get out of paying a whole lot of late charges and fees.

It was time to tackle the rest of the mess and I turned to Pinterest for some help.  CRAZY, eh? Guess what?! Pinterest can help.Who needs Google. lol. I pinned a few flow charts and got started. You can check out those pins in a file I named The Organized Wife. I was looking for some motivation.

I went to town and bought folders and labels and binders and dividers and plunged in. I think I would have rather wandered in a cave full of poisonous snakes and spiders... but anyway.

FIRST I found out what papers need to be saved and which papers can be thrown and revved up the paper shredder. I started out doing it when Steve was working nights. I wanted to save him from a heart attack or two. Once I started getting the piles to a manageable size I let him in on my system. His response: "But what about our paper trail?" and then we both laughed. Paper trail indeed.  I'm so over that. :-)

There are things one must keep. There are papers that are no more than clutter and I aim to be rid of clutter. First I'm getting all the current papers organized for tax time and I set up a new budget using the YNAB program. Then I will go back and start clearing the file cabinet one file at a time.

What are you doing to organize and simplify your life?

Here's to a clutter free 2014!

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