Part of keeping your paperwork organized is knowing what you need to keep and how to keep it handy. For example, insurance policies need to be reviewed regularly and be easily accessible, but if there are a year’s worth of cable bills in the same drawer, finding the insurance policy will be a struggle.


We’re all very busy and may struggle to have the time to go through the mail regularly. If this sounds like your life, treat yourself to a pretty basket and place it near the door you use most often. When you come into the house, put the mail in this basket. Once a week, set aside time to open everything. Bills can go in one pile, things you want to read for pleasure can go beside your favorite reading chair once you’ve put last month’s magazine in the recycling bin, and offers you’re not going to use can go in the shred pile. Shredding is crucial to protecting your personal information. When throwing mail away, it’s a good idea to shred any mail with your name, address, or any personal information in order to reduce the risk of identity theft or other serious problems.


Whenever possible, set up your monthly maintenance documents to come to you electronically. Bank statements and bills can be reviewed online. If you choose to receive bills via email, try to take time once a week to schedule payments so you don’t miss any invoices. Saving paper waste doesn’t matter if you’re paying late fees because you forgot to cover a bill.

Set Up a Rotation Habit

If you prefer to receive paper bills, invest in a simple filing envelope. This needn’t be big or terribly convoluted. Once you write checks or schedule payments, file the bills by month in the divider. Before filing, put last year’s bills in the shredding box or into a storage box if you prefer to keep two years of bills. The same works for magazines and catalogs. Put them near your favorite reading spot for easy review. When the next edition comes in, discard the previous and enjoy the new one. If you have several magazines stacking up because you don’t have time to read them, they’ve become a chore and you have enough of those. Consider canceling the subscription.

Managing paper doesn’t have to be onerous, but you do need to address it regularly. Consider going through your weekly mail on Friday right after work as a way to “close the books” on your work week and enjoy one less task on Saturday.
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