My journey toward a peaceful, organized family, home and life!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Clutter: "Action" Station

I've been diligently working on my paper clutter since starting my online course via Simplify 101.

I'll show the "before" pictures after the "after" pictures simply because the top picture shows up on my "Popular Posts" sidebar gadget.

My "action" station, where I process incoming paper, is pictured below. I keep it at my computer desk in the master bedroom since this is where we pay our online bills and print off all manner of papers! I'm still searching my house for an "Inbox" to keep by our main floor phone for incoming/unprocessed papers.

This "action station" is a desktop/upright file box that took me a bit of time to find (I had to go to an actual office supply store rather than just Walmart). I got the idea from The Nest Effect here and A Bowl Full of Lemons here.

I picked up these hanging files at a local thrift store for a steal of a deal! I don't even mind the gray! Since they didn't come with any plastic tabs, I used some sticker ones that I picked up at a scrapbooking store ages ago and couldn't bring myself to part with when I last purged!

The categories are:
  • Incoming Mail
  • Outgoing Mail
  • To Do
  • To Pay
  • To File (subdivided by folders: Reference, Archive, Recipes, Receipts)
  • Coupons
  • a file for each family member
  • To Dispose Of (subdivided by folders: To Recycle, To Shred)

Incoming Mail

Somewhat self-explanatory... I put any incoming paper that I'm not organizing immediately in here.

Outgoing Mail

Again, somewhat self-explanatory... My outgoing mail usually has something to do attached to it (missing address, special postage) and can include non-urgent items being sent back to school with a child.

To Do

Completely self-explanatory. Something that can't be done RIGHT AWAY, goes here. I try to remember to check it on a regular basis to get those things done!

To Pay

Completely self-explanatory. The majority of my bills arrive electronically but there are the odd ones that are still mailed. I mark the due date on our calendar and put the bill in this file temporarily.

To File

Reference: Items that need to be filed in our Reference Binder, also known as a Command Central or Family Management Binder (more on that in an upcoming post).

Archive: Items that need to be filed long-term in our filing cabinet (more on that in an upcoming post).

Recipes: Recipes that I print off that need to be filed away in my Recipe Binder.

Receipts: I've never really kept track of receipts before but this is a temporary holding place for receipts that I may need for returns. Any tax receipts or those that are attached to a warranty or major purchase, will be filed in my filing cabinet.


I don't pay particular attention to coupons (something I plan to change... it's on my To Do list!) but the ones that I see fit to print off, get the expiry date noted on my calendar and are filed here until ready to use.

Family Member Files

Any papers that aren't (ultimately) my responsibility or that need a temporary holding place are filed by family member name.

To Dispose Of

To Recycle: Since our recycling bins are downstairs in the pantry, anything that I don't want to throw in the trash (or shred) goes in here. I take care of it if it piles up a bit.

To Shred: I had actually been contemplating the purchase of a paper shredder for some time. It would always get shuffled to the back burner. After it was highly recommended that everyone should have one, I passed by one on sale at Walmart. In the cart it went! It has all sorts of safety features that a mother of young children likes to see. I store any items that will need to be shredded in this folder and my elder daughter loves to help me shred!

Here is a glimpse of the mountain of sorting I had to do... That giant box in the center is the collection of paper piles in my house! (There's even more, of course, hiding in drawers and boxes elsewhere.)

Here is the completed sorting:

My reference binder and filing cabinet organization are coming up!

I'm linking this at:


Shooting Starchild said...

Very cool! I'm still struggling with the Action Systems. Thanks for posting, and thanks especially for the picture!

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a comment!