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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While I want to be an ‘all digital’ gal, I’m about 50/50 on utilizing paper vs electronic documents. There’s just some things that seem to be a little easier to store in a hard copy paper format. One of those things is all the warranties and manuals we have from our bigger household items. Fortunately, I rarely need these. But when I do, it can be challenging AND frustrating to find if not organized correctly.

The warranty & manual binder was born!

The first thing I did was pull out all our manuals, receipts and warranties that I found throughout our home. Next I had to decide what paperwork to keep. While I could store every manual I’ve ever received, here’s my litmus test:

If the item stopped working, would I go through the effort to return it, try to fix it or ask for a replacement?

Some household are affordable enough that I would likely just purchase a new one and others I only expect to last a short amount of time. Items such as toaster and coffee makers are examples of product manuals that I don’t keep.

After reviewing the household paperwork that we have, I sorted in the following categories:

  • Kitchen
  • Master bedroom
  • Guest room
  • Family room
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Misc (I seem to always have a Misc category!)

Then for each household item, I hold on to:

  • Manual
  • Receipt
  • Warranty

** for some items, I was missing one of more of these. That’s OK, I just collected what I had.

 

I make a copy of each of the receipts I have (because the originals seem to always fade over time),

Once I had my categories determined & paperwork organized, here’s the supplies I used to compile the binders:


I used my trusty label maker to label each divider with my categories.

I pull out a clear sheet protector for each item and stick the label on the top right corner. Filling out the details:

  • The product (including make and model)
  • Date purchased
  • Store
  • Cost

Once I compiled everything in to the binder, it was pretty full to capacity. So every time we get rid of a product listed in the binder, we get rid of the paperwork. I also take a couple minutes once or twice a year to flip through to make sure the binder is up to date.

Added bonus is that compiling these all in one place actually ended up taking less space than spread out throughout our house. And I’m all about saving room!

Now if you want to get extra fancy with labeling your, here’s my step by step to a snazzy binder cover!

 

 

 

 

 




 

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Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

While I hate spending big bucks on adorable office supplies, I love when my office organizing can also be PRETTY. Sometimes it feels like a catch 22, right? Fortunately, we’re smack dab in the middle of our paper organization series, where we’re showing you practical solutions to your biggest paper clutter challenges. These labeled AND colorful binder clips will be a perfect addition to all your paper organization needs!

 Supplies for Colorful Binder Clips

Instructions

Remove the tops of your clips by pinching the silver arms to remove each side.

Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

Grab your favorite spray paint cans! I highly recommend a GLOSSY spray paint for this project. It makes the binder clips really pop with color. Are you new to DIY spray painting projects? Take a look at my top 10 tips for spray painting before you get started!

I spray two light coats on each binder clip, drying at least one hour in between. I also let them dry overnight just to be sure they’re completely dry.

Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

My absolute FAVORITE organizing supply is this Epson label maker. It was well worth the investment. Its small so that means portable, which is probably my favorite part. I typically don’t do my projects in our office (which is where our printer is). So I was constantly be running back and forth between the computer, printer and my project to get labels created. Yes, I burned a couple calories walking up & down all our stairs, but having a printer that I can carry with me is SO much easier.

Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

Regardless of what labeling tool you use, you’ll want to label both the front and back of your binder clip so that means making 2 of each label. I chose to label my binder clips as: Mail, To Do, Bills, and Taxes. Now I never promised you that this would be the most EXCITING items to organize, but at least now when I’m looking at my tax documents I’ll have a pretty pink clip on top.

Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included! Get your paper both organized AND pretty with these decorative binder clips! It only takes 5 minutes... step by step tutorial included!

May even your most boring paperwork be BEAUTIFULLY organized 🙂

 

 

 

 

 




 

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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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Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Every couple of months I decide to go completely ‘paperless’. I spend hours uploading all my documents to the latest and greatest in online technology. Luckily some of my systems have worked well for me. Yet no matter how hard I try I can never seem to remove paper from my home. So instead of trying to fight it, I’ve learned to embrace it. Enter PAPER ORGANIZATION SERIES. Each week, I’ll be tackling a different area of paper clutter around my home. This week you’ll need to pull out your three ring binders because we’re working on some pretty binder labels for all your 3 ring binders!

Now you may be thinking …. 3 ring binders? Am I back in high school? As much as I wish I was back to the carefree days of my teens, I don’t miss the binder filled homework! Those binders have now been replaced with important home owner documents, coupons, and wedding planning. Three ring binders are an easy to find and label paper storage solution. Perfect for all those documents that you can’t throw away!

At our house I have 4 different binders: warranties/home owner documents, couponing, taxes, & current projects (which is really a catch all for a lot of stuff 🙂 ).

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Supplies

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.Instructions

The first step is to cut your decorative scrapbook paper to fit the size of the clear side label pocket of the binder. I always cut the paper slightly smaller than the clear side pocket opener, because I HATE trying to push the paper through the opening. Here’s my rule of thumb measurements to cut your paper:

2 inch wide 3 Ring Binder =2 inches wide & 11 inches tall, so cut your paper to 1 1/2 inches wide & 10 1/2 inches tall 

3 inch wide 3 Ring Binder =  3 inches wide & 11 inches tall, so cut your paper to 2 1/2 inches wide & 10 1/2 inches tall 

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Now you’re ready to type the wording of each label. Instead of buying lettered stickers, I opted to print out the letters to save a little money. I love the look of the black wide font on top of my colorful scrapbook paper. I typed out my label wording for each binder with the largest font that would fit my cut scrapbook paper. This took a little trial and error. I printed the labels with different size fonts and measuring it up to the scrapbook paper.  For my 2 inch binders, 120 size Segoe UI Black font was my best option. Printing on thick card stock as opposed to regular printer paper gives the illusion that the letters actually ARE stickers!

Once printed, I then cut out each letter using my scissors. TIP: Using a more plain font makes cutting out the letters MUCH easier, as opposed to a more cursive style font.

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Using either regular scotch tape or scrapbooking tape I put a little tape on the back of each letter before pressing it onto the scrapbooking paper. TIP: line up the letters on top of the scrapbook paper WITHOUT tape first to make sure they’re spaced out evenly before applying tape.

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Slowly push your label inside the pocket. I like to read the label from bottom to top so I put my label in the pocket accordingly. TIP: Open up your binder to allow more room inside the clear side pocket before inserting your label.

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Keep all your paperwork in 3 ring binders organized AND pretty! Step by step tutorial to make decorative 3 ring binder labels.

Now when you’re organizing all your papers, you’ll have something pretty to look at!

I’ll see you NEXT week more tips on organizing your paper!

 

 

 

 

 




 

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