This week on Ci Radio (Targeting Paper Clutter Zones) we focused on the paper clutter in our homes. Many of us, when looking around our homes, will find paper clutter zones. Here is how we used END CLTR to organize Chelle’s paper clutter.
One of the things we found in Chelle’s kitchen clutter zone was paper. When she thought about the paper and WHY it was on the counter instead of in her inbox she realized it was because her inbox was full. Her inbox is a kitchen drawer. If you don’t have an inbox get one. Here is the kind I recommend. Also, the paper was on the counter because no one wanted to put things in the drawer because they might get lost or never looked at.
Here is how you use END CLTR™…
EMPTY – Empty the drawer.
NAME PILES – Sort the items into piles. Name the piles. Use post-its with the names written on them so you don’t forget which pile is where. The piles can be whatever you want.
Here are two of the piles.
Always name one pile “elsewhere” for things that belong elsewhere in the house. You do not need to put them away now. You might get distracted. Wait until the project is completed and then be sure to take the time to put them away.
Here is an interesting pile!
DECIDE: Go back through each pile and decide what to keep and what to throw. We used post-its here, too, so that Chelle could remember which pile was keep and which one was throw.
DECIDE: Decide where things will live. Throw as much as you can away so you don’t have to make the decision.
There are two KEYS when processing paper.
- STAND – Always make yourself stand to process your paper. You can get more done if you are standing. Need to write a check? Run and get your checkbook and write it now. Need to shred something? Walk to the shredder and do it now. Need to put something in the car? Do it now.
Chelle stands as she processes her paper.
Chelle is standing and can easily put a gift card in her wallet.
CONTAIN: Use containers to organize. Read more about the three essential containers when organizing paper. They are:
- The Inbox
- The Freedom Action File (or something similar to organize temporary papers)
- The File Cabinet
Chelle has a file in her Action File that temporarily holds the “to file” papers that will go in the file cabinet. Her Action File also has a file for each family member. Here is where she is putting her daughter’s college papers that haven’t been completed so that Sydney knows exactly where to look for them when she needs them.
- Use Tracy’s 3HOW?s to process paper. Learn more here.
When processing your paper use the rule that if it will take 2 minutes or less to take action on it do it now. Chelle put stamps on her Christmas card pile so that she can put them in the mail…better late than never!
Then she took them and put them in her car so she could drop them in the mail next time she was out. That took less than a minute and the task was complete!
LABEL: Label when necessary. The tabs of the Action File are labeled. The coupon bin is labeled. Your labels do not need to be fancy – tape and a sharpie. Here is the label maker I use.
TEST: Now it is time to test your system. Mail goes in the inbox (Chelle is using a drawer). Since she LOVES coffee and drinks it every day she will tie processing her paper with making her coffee. Put a note there to remind you. Next time she prepares coffee she will be reminded to process her paper. Doing it daily will never allow a pile to build up and become overwhelming.
Here is the final picture of Chelle’s paper processing area.
The next morning Chelle sent a text to Tracy…It said :
Chelle: I processed my mail this morning. 🙂
Now it is your turn! What will you tape your “process inbox” to?
*** UPDATE *** UPDATE *** UPDATE
A friend of Chelle’s posted on her Facebook page when he received the belated Christmas card…