Organize The Six Most Important Areas of the Home: #3

3.  Incoming Information.  The barrage is endless and from every direction.  Papers, emails, texts, instant messages - they come into our home through our front door, our phones, our computers and our kids’ school bags.  Families get overwhelmed by the daily intake of paper clutter and struggle to respond to the critically important hidden beneath the useless and mundane. Creating a system to filter incoming paper and electronic information is critical to an organized home.

First, DESIGNATE a home office space.  This may be a proper office, a satellite space in the kitchen or a spot in the entryway.  It is a convenient space for you to bring incoming items as you get the mail, unpack a permission slip or receive a notification.  The space should have folders for items you need to action, file or reference and if there is more than one person who takes action in the household, you may designate a folder for each family member.

Second, IMPLEMENT the system immediately.  When you retrieve the mail, resist the urge to glance through and then throw the whole pile on the kitchen counter.  It takes only a few moments longer to sort – 90% will go directly to the recycle bin!  The remaining items should be placed in the action, file or reference folder. 

Finally, TRANSITION the files weekly by taking action on all items in the action folder, filing items as necessary and reading, filing or recycling those items in the reference folder.  You will be surprised how little time it takes to get through the folders when you do this on a weekly basis.  Having an action plan for your incoming information means you will never miss a payment, a field trip or an appointment again.