064: Organize Your Paper and Change Your Life

Are you drowning in paper piles? Listen to the latest episode of Live It Out With The Planning Woman and learn how you can get rid of those paper piles for good.

If I were to show up unexpectedly to your home, what would I find on your kitchen counter? I would guess if you’re like a lot of people, that I would find a stack of papers. It seems that no matter how hard we try to go paperless, we are always having to deal with some kind of paper.

Is this true for you? Or am I the only one that experiences this? 

I would say the majority of clutter that I’ve had to deal with personally over the years involves paper. Whether it’s paper I’m not sure what to do with, books, magazines, or even craft supplies involving paper, I’ve been dealing with paper my whole life.

In fact, I remember from my days as a young girl having a ton of paper that I kept. I always wanted to keep every school paper I had and I loved pretending that I was a businesswoman, so I would ask my dad to bring papers home from his work that I could have to play with.

I had one closet that consistently was filled with papers. So you could say I’ve had an obsession with paper most of my life.

As I’ve grown older though I’ve seen paper as more of a nuisance than a help. Between junk mail, papers from my kids’ school, and papers I needed to deal with personally not to mention magazines and catalogs to look through, my kitchen counters have consistently stayed clutter with paper piles.

I love the feeling I get when I actually go through those piles and take care of all the papers there. You would think that feeling alone would have propelled me to keep the counter clean all the time. But you know how it is. Paper stacks can accumulate faster than you can clear them off.

Also, I had a hard time finding a system that worked for me to keep my paper under control. A few years ago I finally came across a system that I modified for myself so I could process and corral all of my papers and make sure I completed any actions associated with those papers. But even that system still did not account for how to keep papers off of my kitchen counters on a daily basis.

Last year I was introduced to the Sunday Basket System by Lisa Woodruff at Organize365.com. When I first heard about the Sunday Basket, I was a little skeptical. But the more I learned about it, the more I realized how genius it actually was. The Sunday Basket is a container that holds your actionable to-dos, your kitchen counter paperwork, and according to Lisa, you go through it every single Sunday. I do mine on a different day. I’ll explain that more in a bit.

The concept of the Sunday Basket System is quite simple. The Sunday Basket itself is basically a file box. What sets it apart from other file boxes is a divider in the box that allows folders to go behind the divider while leaving the space in front of the divider to put papers to process.

Uses of the Sunday Basket System

A place to corral your papers.

Before the Sunday Basket, I would just pile papers on my counter that most often needed my attention. I’ve been pretty good about getting rid of mail and other unnecessary papers. So what I’ve had left were things I needed to take action on. 

They would just stay in one big pile on my counter until I could get to them. If I needed a paper I would search through that pile in the hopes that it would be there. Sometimes it was, and sometimes it wasn’t. This really wasn’t the most effective way to deal with paper. And I’ve learned that clutter attracts clutter so when I had paper piles on my counter, other items would end up there as well. My kitchen was not a fun place to be because of all the clutter.

Since using the Sunday Basket, I am now able to place all of my papers in the front of the Sunday Basket until I have time to process them. And if I need to look for a paper, then I know it’s always in the Sunday Basket.

Now you may be thinking to yourself that you really don’t have a lot of papers to deal with. And maybe that’s true. For this season, that is. Often the number of papers that we have to deal with ebbs and flows throughout the year. And it also depends on what stage of life you are in. I can attest that as a soon to be empty nester, I definitely don’t have as many papers to deal with as I did when my kids were younger.

However, I do have lots of papers such as coupons, recipes, catalogs, magazines, schedules, travel offers, and other miscellaneous types of paper that I have to deal with on a weekly basis. Having the Sunday Basket to help corral all of those types of papers has been a huge blessing to me and has kept my kitchen counter less cluttered.

A place to sort out your papers into various folders that become your to-do list. 

The folders that are used in the Sunday Basket system are actually tabbed pocket dividers that you would use in a three-ring binder. Lisa calls these slash pockets. 

There are two sets for the system to work fully. The first is a set of 5 rainbow-colored slash pockets. These are used to process papers that need to be taken care of by the next time you go through your Sunday Basket. The categories for these are must do this week, computer and calendar, errands, money, and waiting for. You would sort any actionable papers into one of these folders to work on either the day you process everything or sometime within the next week.

The second set is made up of four colors with 5 slash pockets in each color. So 20 slash pockets in total. You use these slash pockets to contain papers for reference or future action. The blue slash pockets are for family, the pink is for personal, purple is for home, and green is for finances or work. Well, actually these four colors could be for any category you would need to keep your paper under control.

Using these two sets of slash pockets together can greatly increase your productivity by helping you ditch a long to-do list and showing you what’s most important to get done.

A place to contain all of your random thoughts and ideas.

If you’re anything like me, then you have 100s if not 1000s of thoughts in any given week. But if you don’t write them down, then often those thoughts and ideas are gone forever. 

I write down all of my thoughts and ideas down on index cards or notepaper and place them in my Sunday Basket to go through during my weekly review. I know when I begin to tell myself “I need to…” read this book, research this product, call that friend. You get the picture. Often these thoughts pop up while I’m getting ready for bed or getting ready in the morning. Having a stash of index cards and a pen ready helps me to write these things down so I don’t forget them.

I mentioned earlier that Lisa says to process the Sunday Basket on Sundays. That’s why she named it the Sunday Basket. However, I’ve found that processing it on Fridays works better for me. I would say just pick a day you can go through it consistently and do it on that day each week. 

So why am I sharing about the Sunday Basket System? Well, for one, I want to help you get your paper organized because I know that paper organization brings peace and productivity to your life. 

However, the main reason I’m sharing about the system is that I am now a certified Sunday Basket Workshop Organizer. And I’m certified in all paper organization and am trained in HIPPA regulations. 

I am offering paper organizing as a new service through The Planning Woman. I have come to realize the benefits of paper organization and want to help other women discover those benefits as well.

One of the most exciting aspects of doing paper organizing is that I can do it in person or virtually. Yes, I can walk you through the Sunday Basket System through an online in-person method, not a recording. 

I am also able to offer other paper organizing products produced by Organize 365. They offer binders to help you get some of your most important papers out of the filing cabinet and into a place that is more easily accessible. The binders also help you decide what papers are most important to keep. You see, we have so many papers in our filing cabinets that are unnecessary. You pare down to just what is needed by using the binders.

Some of the binders offered are a household reference binder, household operations binder, medical organizing binder, and financial organizing binder. All of these come with printables that you can fill out and customize to your needs. They also include slash pockets to hold different kinds of papers.

Another service I’ll be offering in the near future is helping business owners and employees set up workflows using a workbox that is similar to the Sunday Basket System. That service will roll out in early 2020.

So you may be asking what is the difference between working with me and ordering directly from Organize 365. That is a great question.

If you order from Organize 365, you will receive whatever product you order along with training videos. They also have some Facebook groups for different products. 

If you work with me, you’ll pay the same price you would have paid to Organize 365. However, I will be able to train you in a way that is adaptable to your unique situation. And you’ll have other opportunities to get further training with me often at little to no extra cost for you.

Yes, Organize 365 endorses this. They set up the certification so more women can get their paper organized with help from someone personally. There is only so much Organize 365 can do to offer the personal touch. So they train people like me to help women out.

If you are drowning in paper, I’d love to help you out. I’m currently working on a calendaring system so you can sign up for a one on one or group workshop with me both locally and virtually. I’m still in the process of figuring out the best way to do that.

Three benefits for organizing your paper

Episode 64 of Live It Out With The Planning Woman

Organizing your paper saves you time. 

That’s really a no brainer. Think about how often you look for a certain paper and the frustration that causes.  Having your paper organized saves you time by knowing where everything is and having your paper easily accessible. Also, when you finally go through your papers and get rid of a lot of them, you have less to maintain. And when you have less to maintain, you have more time.

Organizing your paper can save you money.

And even possibly help you make money. Ok, maybe not make money, but find it. As you are sorting through your paper, I would bet the chances are pretty good that you’ll come across a check you forgot to cash, gift cards you’ve lost or forgot you had, or even cash that you stashed somewhere and forgot about. 

The way organizing paper can save you money is that you’ll always know when your bills are due so you can pay them on time and avoid late fees and interest. You won’t lose your bills in a stack of paper and forget about them anymore.

Organizing your paper can save your sanity.

When you can declutter the areas that tend to collect paper in your home, you will immediately feel the benefits of a more peaceful space. And knowing where all of your important papers are can give you peace of mind.  You can stop worrying that you’ve forgotten to do something.

I’m so excited to share more about paper organizing with you in the future. And I’d love to work with you to get your papers under control.

For more information on how I can work with you to get your papers under control, visit my services page here.

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