Tag Archives: paper

NeatReceipt is … well … neat

I spent an hour or two today in our office, inserting collected receipts and important documents or business cards into a slim white scanner. They pulled through, quickly and quietly. If I inserted a piece of paper a bit skewed, it self-corrected.

Insert receipt. Push scan. Watch it glide through. Catch the paper. Set aside. See it come up on the computer monitor. Repeat.

It worked like a charm.

We’re on our way to being (almost) paperless in our office.

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Filed under Office, Organizing, Paper

You Can Do It: Conquer Paper Clutter

Today’s guest blogger is Daniel, an IT consultant extraordinaire and all-around geek, who blogs about business, life, and coffee (not necessarily in that order) over at his blog, BrameStorm. I have to admit: I think he’s pretty amazing. Granted, I’m a little biased, since he’s my husband. Daniel’s been a trooper during the process of getting our home organized and I’m very blessed (thank you, God!) that he a) doesn’t think I’m crazy, and b) actually wants to contribute to and maintain the organizational efforts that I’ve put in place. He’s paid particular interest in efforts to organize files and technology … In fact, when I mentioned I was asking blogging friends to contribute to a guest post series, he suggested that he could write a post describing how he’s ended his “paper pandemic.” Considering that so many entrants in my book giveaway last month said that their chief organizational challenge was paper, I accepted his offer gladly, and am excited to share his results with you!

{Image: Kate Ter Haar}

As a generally technical sort of fellow, I have a deep-seated hatred of paper.  It stacks, piles, gets ripped apart by the dog, and may yet still contain valuable information to be perused.  No matter how far technology advances, I just can’t totally get rid of the stuff.  Therefore, I decided that it was high time that I designed a filing system that worked.

In general terms, I have three filing locations:

  • A single “Inbox”
  • A filing cabinet
  • The trash can / shredder

When I come home, my first instinct is not to sort through my paper.  I want to dump it somewhere until I can deal with it.  That place is the inbox.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  I use a simple wire basket.  The idea is that when I intentionally sit down to file mail once every couple of days, I can process the pieces one at a time and decide precisely where it goes.  A lot of this has to do with whether or not it’s actionable or not.  If I can do something with it, it becomes a project in the filing cabinet or gets done on the spot.  If I can’t do something with it, it gets filed as reference or sent to the mighty trash gods.

I’m not going to reiterate a lot of this process because David Allen does a remarkable job of explaining this thought process in his book, Getting Things Done:  The Art of Stress Free Productivity.  Instead, I’m going to focus on reference filing, as that tends to be the sticking point for most individuals.

Warning:  Coming from the digital world, I’m used to acronyms.  I’m comfortable with them.  I love them and they love me.  It was inevitable that I made them part of my filing system.  While this may not totally work for you, it might give you a starting point.

Moving on…

I needed a way to establish some control over the types of information that came into my world.  Sure, alphabetizing files are a given, but what about the titles themselves?  I needed something reproducible that gave me a degree of granularity while maintaining scalability.  That’s a tall order…  I came up with something like this.

PER.INS.ATO

In human language, that’s Personal Auto Insurance.  After about fifty attempts, a useable pattern started to emerge.  Here are just a few of the tags that I used.

PER.TAX.2010 / Personal Tax Return from 2010

BIZ.LGL.LIC / Business Legal Licenses

BIZ.INS.ERR / Business Errors and Omissions Insurance

I could then file them alphabetically by section and subsection.  It was easy, extensible, and short.  There was still a challenge, though.   I needed details on what was in the file.  I already had a sharpie in hand at the time, so I did what any lazy programmer would do.  I started scrawling out lines that detailed the documents inside of the files in order of appearance.

Problem Solved!

Below, you can see a few examples of my filing system.  I hope this helps you in your own quest to kill the Evil Paper Monster of Doom ™

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Filed under Balance, Drawers, Office, Organizing, Paper, Sorting, Storage

Laundry, Dishes, Paper

These are the three things that are my nemeses. I have won battles, but the war is still going strong.

2012, please bring me systems or solutions, or just plain self-motivation to get them done in a continually ongoing and efficient way. My year of organizational endeavors is almost up, but those three things still mock me from the counter or bed or hamper or office desk every time they pile up and become the Goliath to my David.

I’m claiming the victory as mine!

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Filed under Cleaning, Home, Kitchen, Laundry, Office, Paper

Day 7: In Search of a Useful Paper Organizational Method

Paper is my nemesis.

Let me say that a little more vehemently: PAPER IS MY NEMESIS.

I love paper. I hate paper. I keep paper. I throw out paper. I find papers I shouldn’t have kept in every box, every closet, every drawer, every shelf, every random place paper shouldn’t be. I’m a writer … paper happens.

I am on a hunt to find The Perfect Paper Organization System. Part of me wants to just give up and throw it all out (Sorry, Uncle Sam), but the responsible adult in me is horrified by the idea.

While I’m attacking the areas of my life and home that are easier for me to handle (closets, drawers, cupboards, etc.) I am doing research on systems that could help me. I’ll keep you updated on what I find, and I’ll start with these first few resources after the jump.

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Filed under Office, Paper