New Year, Same Old Piles

Well here we are again, at the end of another January. Did you get organized and de-clutter like you meant to? Or are you dealing with the same old piles? All of my articles from this Get Organized Month are posted here, in one spot. The rest of the year, you’ll get my usual (roughly) twice-a-week posting, so if there’s something you want to know more about, please drop me a line or leave a comment at the bottom.

We did four weekly challenges in our Facebook Clutter-free group this year, and the articles roughly dealt with these areas:

  • week 1= kitchens
  • week 2= storage areas (basements, attics, garages, closets)
  • week 3 = bedrooms & closets
  • week 4= living areas (family rooms, craft rooms, kitchen, etc)

In any one of those areas – or in all of them – you might have piles of paper. Especially this time of year, we are all getting tax documents online and in the mail. It’s easy to lose track of bills and important papers when you’ve got too many piles. Even though most of us do things online these days, a paperless life is still a dream. Paper is always in our homes, and it’s usually a big part of the clutter. So on the last day of the month, I want to give you one thing you can do to take those same old paper piles and get rid of them for good.

New Year, Same Old Piles

I like the Freedom Filer as an attractive, efficient paper management system. It has two huge advantages over piles or random folders:

  1. The pre-printed labels that work for most households (or get the business version), and it has blank labels that you can customize by hand or use their easy online template for printing
  2. Each label tells you not only what to keep, but how long to keep it

That’s the brilliance of the system, and really any good organizing system. If you can get the system to do the organizing work for you, or at least the decision making, then you will save time and are more likely to stay organized. The labels actually tell you when to move or clear out a folder, you don’t have to think about it, and you can even delegate part of the work to a partner if that works for you.

You can purchase the Freedom Filer system on my shopping page. It can take a few hours to set it up and fill with your own paper, but once you do, you should never have to set up a brand new filing system again. It’s flexible enough to go through all of life’s changes, like changes in kids, medical situations, property, and everything else life throws at you. Of course, we LOVE setting these up for clients, so feel free to contact me to schedule your appointment.

We set these up in-person for folks in our area, but we also meet virtually with clients across the country.

You can also DIY this, at your own pace, for a fraction of the cost of what it would cost to hire me to sit with you. I developed an online class called Organizing Your Paper that shows you how to use the Freedom Filer, or any filing supplies that you like to use, but I added on so many of the mini-lessons that clients as about all the time, including:

  • managing passwords
  • tracking charitable donations
  • gathering vital records
  • using your credit report to manage papers
  • and so much more!!!

Exclamation points because this class really is valuable. Each of the lessons are just a few minutes long, and if you can watch a YouTube video, you have enough tech skills to take the course. It’s only $49 for the course, and you can take the course with or without purchasing the Freedom Filer. It’s completely up to you.

Organizing Your Paper online course

I’ve been using and teaching the Freedom Filer for over 10 years. One of my clients who uses it contacted me for a little refresher, and I’ll share this little tidbit with you, too. We typically set up household files to use 24 months of rotating files. There’s twelve months of the odd year (like 2019) and twelve months of the even year (like 2018). Once you label these as even-January thru December and odd-January thru December, you never have to do it again. When you get to the 25th month of the green-tabbed folders, you can toss or shred the records in just a few seconds.

Yep, it takes less than a minute each month, and you don’t even look at the material. I even send my Freedom Filer clients monthly reminders to help them stay on track.

It works because you had already put in only non-tax related stuff (you already filed your taxes for that year). Permanent records, like warranties and receipts for big ticket purchases went in the Permanent (red) or Remove and Replace (orange) sections. So everything you need to keep is properly stored. That means you can toss the stuff in the green-tabbed folders with ease, completely eliminating many of your piles.

If you’re ready to do something different so you aren’t dealing with those same old piles next New Year, please click to check out what the Organizing Your Papers online organizing class can offer. If you have any questions, as always, just contact me.