Organizing Challenge – Paperwork – Part II: A Possible Solution to Our Short-Term Paperwork Dilemma

This photo shows a carrying case made of folders. It has a latch in front to secure the files. It can be used as a "Sunday Basket" to keep paperwork in order. https://simplicitysjourney.com

• Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com


Part II – Continued….

Gathering the Supplies. I have to say that after I learned more about this system, I went out and got the supplies that I thought that I would need to put a “Sunday Basket” together. I purchased the following supplies:

  • A black, Sterilite carrying case with a clip-style closure
  • Files and manilla folders
  • Highlighters – (I had these, but just gathered them up.)
  • A label maker and cartridges – (Again, I already had these supplies.)
  • Writing Supplies and White-Out – (I gathered up what I already owned as well.)

The supplies were not too much – and some were just my preference to have. Below are two photos of the Sterilite container that I am using as my “Sunday Basket”. (I purchased this Sterilite carrying case at Target, in case you are wondering.) Also, the top of the carrying case has a large area where supplies can be kept. Personally, I really like this case for what I am using it for.

• Photos by Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey •

Putting the Framework Together. Now, in regards to putting my “Sunday Basket” together, I made sections that were categorized by color. This is not something that you would necessarily have to do. Again, it is just my preference to color-code it in this way. My “Sunday Basket” is just an example of many, but I wanted to share it with you since it has been working so well for me. With that said, I would say that categorizing in this way has helped me by making it easier for me when I am filing paperwork and looking for a specific category of files or an individual folder. The first category of files that I made in the front of my “Sunday Basket” is light orange and contains files for all incoming and outgoing paperwork; the “Outbox”, “Inbox” and one folder for papers that need to be filed (“To File”). The next group or category of files are a teal-blue and all have something to do with papers that require something to be done with them. They are “To Do”, “To Pay”, “To Call”, “To Fill Out / Write To” and “To Read”. Originally, I had one large folder that I had for anything “To Do”-related, but found that it is much easier for me to break this paperwork out into these different category groupings. I love having them separated this way because if I have a short amount of time during the afternoon, I can grab the “To Call” file and make the calls that I have in this folder. When I am done with this, I just put the folder back in my “Sunday Basket” and can go on to my next activity, and so on. It makes this so efficient for me which I absolutely love!

• Photos by Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey •

The next folder category that I have is in a folder with a bright yellow tab to help capture my attention. I created this folder after being inspired by another suggestion that Dawn, The Minimal Mom, had when it came to indecisive paperwork. She had mentioned that she has a container separate from her paperwork that she refers to as the “Time Will Tell Bin”. In this bin, mail and paperwork that was questionable whether to keep or not went into it. Also, not everything that went into this folder was immediately necessary to follow-up on. The paperwork and mail can be kept in this bin until it is used or until the expiration dates for the material or activities passed and it could then just be recycled.

I created this folder to use in a similar manner to the way that it had been described, except that I wanted to keep this folder and paperwork in my “Sunday Basket” instead of separately. For me, this has worked out great because it has kept all of my currently, undecided mail and paperwork at bay and has therefore not gotten lost or mixed in with other paperwork. I also love that all of my current year’s paperwork is completely contained within my “Sunday Basket”. It’s really nice to know that I don’t have a bunch of paperwork strewn throughout my other folders that are actually organized and ready to be dealt with. So knowing how I am with loose papers when they are sitting around (usually in small piles), I felt that it would be better for me to adjust and modify the “Time Will Tell Bin” so it worked for me. (However, having it separately is an option, if this works better for you.) Since I began utilizing this folder in this way, I have been quite satisfied with how I have been able to keep these papers organized until I address them, if I choose to do so – or eventually just recycle them.

This photo shows how in this stage of getting paperwork together, you would sort your papers into various files. This stage of the process will set the paperwork of for the next stage in the Sunday Basket process. https://simplicitysjourney.com
• Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

The next category of files in my “Sunday Basket” have to do with other files that I would frequently use each week. These purple-tabbed files include the following folders: “My Projects”, “Budget Planning”, “Taxes for the Current Year”, “Updates for the Control Journal” (A term that the Flylady uses for what is essentially a home planner that I’ll be addressing in a future article.), “Menu Planning”, “Coupons”, Receipts” and “Stationary”. I have to say that this portion of files are so great for me because it makes budgeting, weekly menu planning and choosing coupons to help save money, work seamlessly together. In addition, having the receipts placed into a folder after these helps so much when having to check online orders and such. They are all together, right at my fingertips!

The next folder category subsequently following the others (and is a dark orange-tabbed folder) is the one for “Sentimental Papers”. I decided to put this folder in here because when looking at what paperwork I had found when I was originally gathering it from the main level of my home, sentimental papers were a large part of what I had found the most. Just like papers in the “Time Will Tell Bin”, sentimental papers are dealt with in much of the same way. For example, if you think about it, we can get several cards for a particular event in our life. One card may just have the senders’ name inside while another card or two may have a written sentiment along with their names. Placing these types of cards and letters in the “Sentimental” folder can ensure that they are being stored properly while giving time to decide whether or not to keep them.

As time goes by, I have found that sentimental paperwork will become more easily apparent in identifying which should be kept and which should not. I think that it is because as time goes by, the emotional tie to these papers becomes less the older that they get. If you think about it, cards and notes that we have gotten say six months ago are much harder to part with then ones that we got (maybe even for the same occasion) five years prior. Having a “Sentimental” folder, helps in giving us time to get more of an emotional distance and perspective; making it easier to identify which papers and cards to keep and which ones that we should not. I have made it a goal for myself to decide and clear out all of the sentimental papers from this folder by the end of each year; recycling what I do not want and properly storing the ones that I do want to keep (in a separate container from my “Sunday Basket”). Whenever you make your “Sunday Basket”, I would love to hear how you are handling the gathering of your sentimental paperwork; in your “Sunday Basket” or in a separate container that you keep elsewhere in your home?

This photo shows how in this stage of getting paperwork together, you would sort your papers into various files. This stage of the process will set the paperwork of for the next stage in the Sunday Basket process. https://simplicitysjourney.com
• Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

The next two sets of files are for my blog and for my faith-based paperwork. My files for my blog are pink and currently contain three folders. The first is for my “Current Blog Notes”, the next folder is for my current “Research” information that I want to store and the last folder is for my “Archived Blog Notes”. Having my paperwork within these folders, stored in this way has currently been working. (However, as time goes by, and I have more paperwork for my blog, I may end up putting all of these papers into a binder.) The next set of files are purple, and store my current, Faith-Based paperwork. It is set up very much like my Blog folders that I just mentioned. So far, this has been working well. However, just like the other set of Blog folders, I may eventually place these faith-based papers into a binder as well. It really all depends. I plan to go through my Blog and Faith-Based files about once a month to see if there is any paperwork that I do not need so that I can recycle them. But, if I find that these two sets of files are beginning to take up too much space or are not working for some reason in my “Sunday Basket”, I’ll just remove them. If you end up placing files for activities such as classes, your blog or faith-based paperwork, please let me know how it is working for you in your “Sunday Basket”.

The last set of folders in my “Sunday Basket” have bright, green-colored tabs so that they stand out among the other folders. These folders are probably some of the most important in the “Sunday Basket” for me because they help store the current year’s paperwork when I am done with them. These folders have been set up as a Tickler File; files for each month of the year. This part of my basket has really worked well in keeping my paperwork from getting out of control. You see, most of my other folders make sure that I complete work. These folders are where I store them for the rest of the year. The way that it works is that when I am done with a certain set of papers, I initially put them in my “To File” folder (if I’m short on time). Then, when I am working with my basket, I take the papers in the folder that is temporarily storing them and put the papers in the “Tickler Files”. To place them in the correct folder, I look at what month the paperwork was written by the sender and file it in that month. It has become really simple to maintain this part of the basket system. At the end of the year, I will go through each folder, month by month, and take out what I need to keep and shred and then recycle the rest of the papers. I will then take the papers that I want to keep and put them in my long-term system for archival purposes. (I will talk about this long-term system in a future article.) So, that is it! These are all of the folders that I have in my “Sunday Basket” system. You may have a lot of the same folders when you set yours up – or you may have many different ones based on your home and personal needs.


Do you have a lot of paperwork to sort through? (No judgment here, we most likely have all had our share of paperwork. 😀 ) What is the most challenging part of sorting through paperwork, do you think?

• Please feel free to tell us in the Comments’ section below. • Take care, Kyra


Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Published by Kyra | Simplicity's Journey

Hello! My name is Kyra and I love everything to do with simple and minimalist living. I have started Simplicity’s Journey as a way to share what I’m doing to simplify my life, home, and to hear what you are doing to simplify as well. One of my goals is for us to have a community on Simplicity’s Journey that will be supportive, inspiring and encouraging to one another, as we continue on our Simple Living or Minimalist journeys. 🗃🧹🍃

2 thoughts on “Organizing Challenge – Paperwork – Part II: A Possible Solution to Our Short-Term Paperwork Dilemma

  1. Good ideas if you have a lot of paperwork! We actually have already been implementing some of this. (My husband takes care of most of the paperwork) Fortunately, most of our faith based information is electronic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Faith! I think that having paperwork digital whenever possible is a great idea. We’ll actually be talking about that in a future article. Thank you for commenting, it’s always great hearing from you! Take Care, Kyra

      Like

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