Friday, January 14, 2011

22 January Challenge: Project Paper {step 4}

Oh happy Friday!  I just love Fridays, it means a whole weekend to ORGANIZE!  Just kidding.  As much as I love it...

Anywho... this week has been full of steps that I have been taking around the Jones abode to get papers in order.  I deemed this "Project Paper", since January is the best time to get your system installed to make the rest of your year is easy breezy.

So far, we have done some Research, Kept and Recycled, Created a Filing System and Organized Receipts.  Today, let's chat about maintaining.  The key part in all of this.  Sure, it's great to have functional and pretty storage, but it's only great if it works and you use it.

Last year I shared with you a little on how we keep mail in order, consider this the 2.0 version as things have been slightly modified.

During the previous year I found that I used my planner for everything.  And that includes keeping papers and bills in order.  And the planner I utilize makes it easy, so I take advantage of that!

So here is how it typically goes down.  My little buddy and I snag the mail each day.  Not when we are driving away or too busy to tend to the new pile of papers entering the house... just sayin'....

Then, instead of creating a stack on the counter, I go through it, RIGHT AWAY.  Sorry, it looks like I am yelling.  I am not.  I am just saying in the most friendly voice, that it's so important to do something with it as soon as you can, otherwise, the pile monsters come out.... and I love you too much to let the pile monsters get you.

I adore my letter opener.  It saves my life fingers daily and cost me about an entire dollar at an office supply store.

I open each envelope, and make two piles, "To Do/Keep" and "Recycle/Shred".  Any bills that need to be paid, then get removed from the statement and tucked with it's envelope inside my planner pocket.

All items that contain important dates, such as wedding and party invites, get paper-clipped to the corresponding page in my planner.  Keeping extra paper clips in the pouch comes in very handy.

The rest of the papers and statements get filed in our "To Do/To File" bin in our memo station.

 Or sent to the shredder...

I block out about 15 minutes a week, typically on a Sunday, to go through all of our memo station bins.  I file away our required paper work, write out bills, take action on any other paperwork, and file our kiddos school work.

It's all extremely easy and painless.  I promise!

Again, this is totally what works well for me.  We are all incredibly different with different lifestyles, so I am curious, what works for you?  Any other tips to share with myself and the readers?

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are getting all those papers in order!  Wanna join?  Take pictures and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our paper filing success stories at the end of the month!


  1. I love your little planner where did you get it?

  2. I need to set aside time weekly as well. Its all about routine for me. So if I get in he habit of doing it ill b golden! It's a matter of getting there... Haha :)

  3. I also want to know where you got your planner. I have a small planner addiction. I buy at least two a year. I am never totally happy. I have been thinking of getting one from Tiny Prints but there are no pictures of the inside.


  4. Hi Ladies! Here is the link:


  5. KATHERINE R. or anyone else interested - Tiny Prints is having a Buy One Get one Free Sale on the Erin Condren Life Planners! Thru 1/18. I have been coveting one FOR MONTHS! If anyone interested is reading this - email me and we can go "halvers" - would be around $25 plus shipping for each of us. I love to organize, but love a bargain just as much!!!
    I don't know anyone in my immediate circle of friends that would be nearly as excited about this as I am! LOL :)

  6. I just discovered your blog recently, and I am so excited!! Our small family of 3 lives in a decent sized condo, but I am finding that organization is key! I have A LOT to do, but thanks to your blog I am going to start with the smaller projects and work my way up to some bigger ones! Thank you for inspiring me!!

  7. Come visit NC and help me organize my icky files! Jen seriously I'm still behind on all of it -- kick my butt for me?

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  8. Jen,
    I can't find the post about the address book you love. I'm in need of a good address book!
    Jennifer B.

  9. Hi Jennifer, here is the link:


  10. I can't wait...I re-did all my office papers recently and it felt so great! Everything is running smoothly now! Filing is really my least favorite thing to organize, but is my most satisfying!

  11. I am so with you on this...YELLING and all...HANDLE IT ONCE! Is also my motto because I have a very low tolerance for paper clutter ;) Have a great weekend. Fondly, Roberta

  12. Jen, do you have any experience with the Neat Desk scanner/software system? We are considering buying one to help manage all of our receipts (my husband travels a lot and we have to keep receipts for everything). You can scan them in and the software reads and extracts the data from the receipts and creates expense reports and budgeting reports. I would love to have a better way to organize that kind of stuff aside from folders and folders full of paper... Just wondering if you've heard anything about this system, good or bad!

  13. we need need a shredder! i've started doing the same thing, too, though - as soon as the mail comes i throw away what needs to be thrown away and put everything else in our "to do" basket

  14. Thanks for sharing, very nice blog...
    Im the newest follower to your blog, hope to see you on my page too...

  15. I'm new to your blog and I'm loving it! (Been reading some of your archives for the past few days and they're great!) My house is not nearly as organized as I would like it but we're planning on moving in a couple months so I'm excited for the fresh start. I love a house that just works! Thanks for all your tips!

  16. I use a planner from have been using one for years and with multiple family members having multiple activities going on it's the perfect system to make sure we are not overlapping anywhere.

  17. First time visitor...where have you been all my organizing life? :) I too am a stay at home mom to 3 busy IHeart your ideas!!! :) Cannot wait to come back for more and utilize your ideas! Thank you so much for sharing everything!!!!

  18. I have an obsession with organization that my mother does not understand.. I am forever trying to find the perfect planner. I had the perfect one in college.. but it's no longer perfect now that I'm in the "real world." And since I'm a missionary, I really shouldn't spend the money for the perfect planner. Sigh. Any ideas on how to make one? Or where I should start? Thanks. LOVE your blog!

  19. @Mary - what about making your own out of a spiral lined notebook? Or creating a single page that you can print each week or have printed ahead of time...


  20. I have a life planner (im still in college) but I use it for everything! I love the pouch in the back that holds all of my labels and small things like receipts! I would be completely lost without!

    Love your blog too!!!

  21. which one did you get this year would love to know?

  22. Great post! I do something a bit similar. 1.) I check the mail (duh). 2.) I immediately separate the mail into two categories: Junk & Keep (takes 10 sec's, while standing at mailbox) 3.) I open most of "keep" pile and add the envelopes and unnecessary "fillers" like advertisements, etc. to the "Junk" category (seriously only takes another 30 seconds) 4.) Any envelopes with addresses I want to keep get photographed using my phone or instantly adding to "My Contacts" in my phone (another 10-30 sec's) 5.) I'm now left w/ very little "real" mail! I don't let any of that garbage in the house! (I toss the garbage into our outside dumpster immediately, ensuring that I tear up anything w/ "personal info") 6.) 90% of our bills are paid automatically online, so that has seriously eliminated our mail intake. 7.) I immediately disseminate our mail into a binder in the house w/ clear page protectors that are labeled, alphabetized, & specific categories: "Deal With", "Call," "Fill Out," "Bills," "Tickets," "Garbage," "What to do with this?," "Save Temporarily," "File," "Redeem," etc. The whole process takes about 3 minutes!!! Saves me so much time and very little mail gets lost!!!


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