By: Becky Esker, President, Get Organized! LLC
Station is one of New York City’s most famous landmarks. It is
also a very busy hub of activity, serving nearly
575,000 visitors a day. Kitchens are the Grand Central Station
of most homes in America.
Multiple meals and snacks are prepared in home
kitchens day-in and day-out. Because of this, it is critical
that the kitchens are well functioning. Appliances, dishes,
food, utentsils and the dreaded plasticware and lids all need
well thought out designated homes.
The kitchen is also notoriously known as the
most popular dumping ground for papers, mail, and every other
item that first enters the household. With the rapid rate of
paper generation in our world today, it is extremely easy to
become overwhelmed with papers and mail in as little as one
week. Because of this, it is important to have a paper
processing system in place.
Carve out a mini-office
in a niche somewhere in the kitchen. It is quite common to
process the mail and papers in the kitchen and then transfer
the paper to the home office. Unfortunately, because of our
fast-paced society, we simply don’t have time to walk down the
hallway, or up, or down the stairs to file away the papers in
the home office. Plus, it simply is not convenient to do so.
Instead we create piles on the kitchen table or counters and
then we play the “moving stacks of paper” game. And heaven
forbid, if someone is coming to visit, we do the “sweep the
papers into a box and stash them in the closet” game. All along
we convince ourselves we will get to that later!
If you want a system that is more likely to
succeed because you are more likely to use it, set up a mail
processing system that is simple to use and limited to no more
than one or two steps.
Create a file center
that includes file folders labelled with the various common
categories of papers that come into your household. Store the
file folders in alphabetical order and place them in an
accessible location such as on your countertop or in a cabinet.
You want it to be as simple as opening a cabinet door and
dropping a paper into the appropriate file folder. Then as these
files fill up, go through them and move only the long-term items
to your home office, down the hallway, or up, or downstairs. In
this manner, you only need to “file” papers away in your home
office a couple times a year versus everyday!