Conquer the Household Mail and Paper Demon

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					Conquer the Household Mail and Paper Demon

Households are bombarded with paper on a daily basis. Bills, statements,
pay stubs, calendars, schedules, menus and permission slips seem innocent
enough individually, but when joined with the other piles of unattended
paperwork, they can form an army that overwhelms even the best defenses.
But you shouldn't feel defenseless against this persistent warrior. With
an organized plan of attack and some disciplined strategy, the paperwork
enemy can be conquered and tamed.

First of all, take a look at the type of paperwork that's overwhelming
you the most. Is it those bills that go unpaid when you can't locate
them? Is it the mounds of artwork your children have lovingly created
and decorated your refrigerator with? Maybe it's the constantly changing
soccer schedule or troop meetings.

Once you determined the most invasive paper culprit or culprits, it's
time to line them up and sort them out. A successful filling system has
three main components. A file for those things that need to be acted on
immediately, one for those that are part of a household's ongoing
management, and one for those that are more infrequent but nevertheless
crucial, such as tax records, insurance policies, wills, and home
maintenance documents.

When conquering the paperwork monster, make a promise to yourself to deal
with each item the first time you handle it. Get out of the habit of
rifling through your mail and tossing it aside. Set aside time each day
to open mail, go through paperwork in your inbox and sort and file
appropriately. Decide if each item is something to be paid, something to
be done, or something to be filed. At the end of each week, take out each
file and respond appropriately by paying the bill, responding to the
request, or moving items that need to be filed into their permanent
locations. Of course, if you know something is urgent and can't wait
until week's end, clip it to the front of your file box or place it in
front in a folder labeled Urgent and act accordingly.

Save telephone time by keeping calendars, schedules, take-out menus and
phone lists into clear page protectors in a 3-ring binder.   Flip through
the household notebook to quickly check meeting dates or find phone
numbers. Create your own forms, or use our free printable Household
Notebook forms. This is also a great place to put correspondence
addressed to the entire family. Organize magazines and newspapers into
baskets kept near couches and living room chairs for people to look at
during their free time. Be sure to keep in the habit of sorting through
this on a regular basis and filing those magazines you decide to keep and
tossing old newspapers and magazines you wish you toss.