Monthly Clean Home Challenge: File Paper Piles

Welcome back to the Monthly Clean Home Challenge daily task!  I am on a quest to maintain a clean and organized home in less time and the goal is simple; four daily tasks, four weekly tasks and one additional quick task each week day. 

In no particular order, here are the individual tasks I am tackling each day this month:
  1. Make cleaning supplies
  2. Cycle clean appliances
  3. Clean out cars
  4. Clean out microwave
  5. Wipe down cabinets/appliances
  6. Wipe down trim/doors
  7. Clean out one drawer
  8. Clean out fridge
  9. Clean out freezer
  10. Vacuum under furniture
  11. Vacuum mattresses
  12. Clean oven
  13. Clean out one closet
  14. Wash out garbage can/recycle bin
  15. Wash windows
  16. Scrub grout
  17. Clean out one cabinet
  18. File paper piles
  19. Purge bathroom toiletries
  20. Clean out pantry

Today I am chatting about the extra task:  File Paper Piles

Over the years I have gone through trials and errors in regards to paper clutter.  There was a day when I was so on top of every piece of paper that entered our home, that it consumed more time than I care to admit.  There also have been times in which I have had to face months worth of papers all at once.  For now, I would like to think I have found a happy medium, which has been working for us for awhile now.

I get asked all of the time about how to manage paper piles and clutter, so consider a condensed version of what we do.

We have had a wall system of in-boxes for years now, and to this day it is still one of my most favorite organizing products ever {found here}.

Each day when the mail comes in, I open it and instantly do the following:
  • Recycle junk mail
  • Clip correspondences with dates into my daily planner {invitations, appointments, etc...}
  • Place invoices/bills into our budget binder
  • All other mail/statements/catalogs/miscellaneous paperwork goes into our mail bin

Each day when the boys come home from school, they hand over their folders for me to look at their papers:
  • Papers I wish to hold on to {tests, report cards, writing milestones, etc...} are placed into each boy's mail bin
  • Papers with important information regarding school projects, events, newsletters, etc... are placed within each boy's mail bin
  • Papers/homework which need to be logged and returned to school are clipped onto the side of the fridge {with their awesome fridge clips}

The process each day is so streamlined and quick each day, and that is where everything stays throughout the remainder of the month.   Until today!  Filing day!

I have found that instead of heading downstairs to our filing cabinet and then back into our guest bedroom to the boy's school boxes and filing each and every day, that I am far more efficient doing it all at once at the end of each month.  It is also nice keeping relevant items in the easy-to-access mail bins throughout the month where the entire family can locate them if we need to reference anything recent.

To start the filing process off each month, I completely empty the bins onto our kitchen table and keep everything sorted into easy to file piles.

I go through each pile and place anything that is still relevent back into our active mail bins, and file away the rest accordingly.  Boy's items into their school bins, our papers into our file cabinet.  Everything else is either shredded or recycled.

We were finally running out of space in our previous filing box so we upgraded to a filing cabinet about a month ago.  I haven't gotten around to completely organizing it, so stay tuned for that post when it happens.

I have found that paper is inevitable, however, filing has gotten much easier since we have gone paperless with our bank and utility companies.  We are able to save our bank statements digitally as PDF files as well as many of the monthly bills we receive.  A lot of the items we still file are items that we need to keep for tax purposes, records of home repair, correspondence regarding insurance, etc...

I always wait until the end of the month to do this, so that we can start each month out with a fresh slate and nearly empty mail bins.  Now we are all set for April!

Looking for something?  Check out my favorite cleaning products below:

Congrats on completing and entire month of cleaning and organizing tasks!  I had so much fun with this challenge and truly appreciate everyone that followed along with me and shared their excitement along the way!  I will recap everything within a post next week and be sure to include all of my current favorite natural cleaner recipes and links to all of the posts within the series. 

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