This post, Organizing our Paper Piles, was sponsored by Fellowes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

With spring cleaning tips spreading across the web this time of year, I like to change it up and showcase an organizing process that I’ve been using for the a while now. I’ve toyed with a couple different ways of organizing our paper piles over the years and stuck with our current system for some time now. Bills, magazines, and mail can pile up quickly. While I sort my mail each day over the recycling bin, I still wanted a dedicated process to take action and file our paper piles regularly. For me, regularly became once a month aligning with paying bills. I set a calendar invite for one hour on the 31st of each month. Routine is everything!

1 categories

To create my system, the first task is to pull out all the paper piles, sort through and divide in to categories. Now your categories will likely be different than mine and may change over time. I love a good organizing process that has flexibility!

My categories

  • Save – These are documents that I want to hold on to and typically need to be filed away. I have a great system for filing important documents that I’ve been using for a while now.
  • Shred – This is for those important documents that I no longer need, but didn’t want to put in the trash. Think bank and credit card statements, old medical documents, and anything else with personal information on it. I shred ALL documents containing sensitive information with our Fellowes 12Cs Shredder. It shreds up to 12 sheets of paper at once and has SafeSense® technology that makes it a great choice for at-home use around children and pets.
  • To Do – For documents that I need to take action on, whether now or later. This includes credit card bills, responding to invitations, etc.
  • Medical – During my pregnancy I’ve been getting LOTS of medical documents in the mail. (At the time of this post the baby could come any day!) I’ve been holding on to all pregnancy related medical bills and paperwork in one specific spot.
  • Taxes – For most, taxes are a once a year project. Working for myself as a blogger I file my taxes quarterly, meaning I’m lucky enough to get to think and deal with taxes 4 times a year {extreme sarcasm inserted}!

I use these colorful thin plastic folders and added a label to the bottom right corner of each. These folders will be the main part of my paper pile review sessions each month.

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

2 storage

Last year I created an entry way wall command center for mail, keys and all those miscellaneous items that appear on our kitchen counter. No paper makes it past the command center unless it’s going in to the recycling bin or needs to be handled ASAP. This has pretty much eliminated those random pieces of paper that would sneak on to our kitchen counters and tables!

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

Since the command center is where our mail and paper piles ended up, I used the top shelf of the magazine holder to store the paper pile folders I created.

  • top shelf – monthly review folders
  • middle shelf – my mail and misc papers
  • bottom shelf – Joe’s mail and misc papers

My favorite aspect is that everything is easy to grab and all in one location.

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

3 supplies

In addition to the folders and mail, there’s a couple additional supplies that I use during my monthly paper organizing sessions. Instead of searching my house to grab those items, I keep them all together in a clear pouch: checkbook, stamps, pens, paper clips and post-its.

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

Never without the desire to label, I added a small label onto the pouch. My quick go-to process is placing a printed label on top of washi tape. It adds a pop of color while also not being permanent (gives great flexibility if I decide to make a change).

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

4 organize

During my monthly session, I grab my mail, folders and pouch. I utilize Laura Stack’s, aka The Productivity Pro, FIRST method to sort all my paper piles into the folders.

File it

Recycle

Shred

Take Care of it

Once all my paper piles are sorted in to the appropriate folders, I go through the folders one at a time to determine the course of action for each document inside. For example, in my To-Do folder, I will pay any bills that are due. Any papers placed in my shred folder will be shredded (see more below!). Medical bills will be reviewed, paid and sorted by date.

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

5 shred 

Every month or so, I grab my shred folder to dispose of the documents inside.

Having a high-quality shredder is key! I use and love our Fellowes 12Cs Shredder found at Walmart:

  • It’s a cross-cut shredder, which really is the best choice for preventing identity theft and fraud. For most of us, these are the reason to shred papers in the first place!
  • It has SafeSense® technology to keep children, pets and distracted organizers safe 🙂 .
  • It can shred up to 12 sheets of paper at one time without jamming. Thank goodness!


Got the urge to organize now? Our friends at Fellowes share some great spring organization tips!

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

 

A better way to manage all your paper clutter in just 5 easy steps! This is the system I've been using for years to manage all our paper piles!

 

 

 

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Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

One of the most important paperwork in your home is medical paperwork. And it’s likely the most confusing, right? While I can’t claim to decode medical terminology and insurance billing, I can help get these very important pieces of paper organized so that they’re easily accessible when you need them! A medical binder is essential for each member of your family and so easy to put together.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

As many of you know, Joe & I got a new member of our family last winter: a very energetic doberman puppy! Reagan had an overwhelming amount of vet appointments in her first couple months of coming home to us. Being totally new to doggy illnesses & lingo, I was constantly confused and definitely wasn’t getting the most out of our vet appointments. Adding to my confusion, we changed vets after a couple months and my new vet had lots of questions that I couldn’t remember the answer to. After months of feeling like an awful puppy mom, I needed a solution.

Not only is a medical binder great for each PERSON of your family, it can easily be adapted for the animals in your family! In it, you’ll find:

  • all medical bills & paperwork
  • an overview of each doctor (vet) appointment
  • important contact information and insurance numbers

I take Reagan’s with her to all her vet appointments.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!Supplies:

The first step is to decide HOW you want to label the folder tabs that will hold medical bills, notes and paperwork for each appointment. A couple options:

By Date: For Reagan, I opted to have one tab for each month. This may be a little overkill for many of you. Reagan was going to the vet almost every two weeks, so having all her records sorted by month was really helpful. As she gets older and has less appointments, I’ll plan adjust the tabs to quarterly. Within each month’s tab, I put ALL vet bills and any paperwork I receive from the vet, and medicine instructions.

By Type: In addition to having your paperwork sorted based on WHEN the appointments happened, it may be helpful to sort some of the paperwork based on a particular situation. For example, all Reagan’s paperwork (vet bills and all documents) for her spaying go in it’s own tab regardless of which month the appointments took place. This could be a good way to also organize medical information for people surgeries 🙂 !

By Insurance: If you’ve transitioned insurance companies recently, you may want to keep your information stored based on which insurance provider was covering the medical expenses.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

I used a combination of these folder tab options when creating Reagan’s binder. Here’s how I created her folder tabs:

Months: As I mentioned above, I’m starting out sorting Reagan’s paperwork based on month since she’s had a lot of vet appointments lately. As she gets older (and hopefully less prone to finding herself at the vet), I’ll likely switch these to quarterly or even yearly for the older paperwork.

Spaying: We’re getting ready to spay Reagan and our vet supplied us with LOTS of informational pamphlets. Since this is a big surgery, I like keeping all this information (plus corresponding vet bills) in its own tab. All the paperwork will be sorted based on date within the ‘spaying’ tab for easy access.

Notes: From time to time our vet supplies us with handouts on good-to-know puppy information. Instead of pitching it and promising myself I’ll remember it, I store it in the ‘notes’ tab.

Breeder: Our breeder gave us a packet of information when we picked up Reagan (AKC registration, lineage info, etc).

Instructions

Making Folder Tabs: Using my decorative label dicut punch, I punched out enough dicuts for the number of tabs that I want in a variety of colors.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

My absolute FAVORITE organizing supply is my Epson portable label maker. There’s even an app so I can literally label on the go 🙂 . Life. Complete. I printed out a label for each of the tabs using their clear label tape on black ink.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

I adhered each label to the top half of the dicut. Next, using scrapbooking tape (regular scotch tape would likely work fine), I placed two pieces of tape on the bottom quadrants of the dicut.

Using a full size (8 1/2 by 11) card stock paper, I turned the paper sideways (landscape) and taped the dicut in the middle. In effort to make it even, I chose not to eyeball ‘the middle’. Instead I measured out the half the width (which is 5 1/2 inches) and made a small mark. Don’t worry the mark won’t be visible as you’re putting your label right over it!

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

I really LOVE using these clear reusable envelopes, as they’re easy to grab and throw in my bag without taking up a lot of space. Realistically I knew I wouldn’t carry around a 3 ring binder in my bag. Using these clear thinner envelopes really makes these medical binders PORTABLE! (which was the goal!)

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

After putting all the folder tabs in the envelope, I went through the huge stack of Reagan’s medical paperwork. I placed each document in the appropriate section.

As I sorted through all the paperwork, I filled out this Doctor Visit Tracker. The goal was to be up to date documenting all Reagan’s appointments. I found that having one sheet listing all her appointments (and some basic details) was incredibly helpful. This sheet goes right in front of the folder tabs for easy reference.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

The final item added to Reagan’s medical binder was the Important Information Card. As you probably guessed, this card lists important information that I may need when making appointments and talking with the vet. It includes Reagan’s birth date, Breeder information & contact information for our vet.

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

Any time we’re off to the vet, this binder comes with us!

Now if someone could just teach us how to read those insurance bills 🙂

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

Some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend! Thanks for helping support this site!

 

 

Keep all your family's medical bills organized with this easy to make portable medical binder. Even fits in your purse to take with to doctors appointments!

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