How are your June Projects going? Mine is squeaking by, I definitely need to finish some chores this week to keep on track. The magazine stack is slowly growing smaller and I’ve been adding new recipes to my binder.
The ‘to be filed’ pile can be done in ten minutes and I might even clear out my ‘to be shredded’ box. When it comes to going through a lot of paper and recycling I find it’s easy to designate a bag. I use paper bags from the grocery store so I can dump all of my paper directly into the recycle bin.
If you think it’s too late to get started, don’t worry! Here are three tips to get you started tonight:
1. Set up a filter – an email filter is a great way to avoid distractions and save time. I’ve mentioned before that Costco sales emails have their own folder, photo deals from Shutterfly, Hotbook, Walgreens and Snapfish go to one folder and correspondence for my volunteer projects go to another. So easy! Check out this article on what types of email to filter and how to get started.
2. Put like things together – if I asked you to grab a red pen would you know where to look? How about a spatula? Puzzle? Shampoo? If two or more places come to mind then you can start simplifying by moving like items together.
In my house black sharpies go in the middle desk drawer. Cleaning rags under the bathroom sink. This saves SO much time trying to find something in place A only to find it’s not there, looking in place B and giving up by buying another at Wal-Mart. Another benefit is knowing how much you have! If your towels don’t fit in a large basket do you have too many? If you gather all your printer paper and only have a ream should you buy more? Do you find duplicates that you don’t need or would you benefit from a backup set?
True story: I have 5 pair of scissors for little ole me. One pair goes in the office for paper only, the rest reside in the kitchen. This way if I grab one for scrapbooking or another to open a bag of pretzels I don’t have to spend an hour hunting down a pair to cut out a coupon.
Grouping like items also makes it easier to get dressed, pack and clean. The best part of “cleaning up” is knowing that when you come across something you know where it should go.
3. Gather and toss – do you get advertisements in the mail every week like I do? Such a waste… if I want to view deals I go to the site directly to view the grocery flyer and I never buy those pizza or oil change deals. But since I can’t find a way to stop the mailman from leaving me those papers I gather and toss them once a week.
When you collect your mail sort into two piles: to do and to wait. If it’s a bill, birthday card, or other important document it becomes a “to do.” Bills should be paid, cards acknowledged, checks cashed, coupons sorted, etc. If you have no immediate use for the mail it becomes to “to wait.” This pile has a shelf life of 7 days, no more. Every other day I get an advertisement for a new cable service that I’m never going to use. That skips the “to wait” pile and goes into the recycling. Same for credit card offers (which are shredded first), pet food offers, and grocery stores I do not frequent. What remains are circular ads for stores I do shop at and those are only good for a week. At the end of the week they go straight into the recycling.
Magazines go right into the “to read” magazine file and I try to keep just the last 3 months on hand at once. After all, recipes for Christmas ham and soups to ward off the cold are not very useful right now!
I don’t have a cute little box or basket for this type of mail, just one bar stools in the kitchen. Everything in my “to do” pile gets move immediately. Bills go on the calendar and then filed in my “to be paid” folder. One of these days I’ll go paperless but I’m not there yet.