Sunday, July 15

No pain paper cut

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How to disguise or get rid of those messy mounds of invoices, newsletters and receipts

This week our expert answers questions related to keeping your old papers around the house.

Q I am knee-deep in papers. I would love a suggestion for a good scanner to keep all the information I need in the cloud.

A Paper is the number one problem we find with our clients. It’s easy to let paper pile up, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed once you realise how much has accrued over time. If there are papers you must keep, there are many scanning apps which can digitise your papers so you can access them from a file on your computer. We use a free app called Genius Scan on our phones to scan business receipts, invoices and client notes we may need to refer to later.

Q I have a small desk in the dining room where the post lands, and it always has mountains of paper, no matter how much I throw out between the letterbox and this landing pad. Do you have tips on how to camouflage and sort it?

A I’m glad to hear you throw out or recycle a lot of your mail because 80% of the mail we receive can be recycled. In terms of camouflaging, it sounds as if it’s a small desk, so I would set up a travelling file folder system. There are a lot of size and finish options so you should choose one that ties in to your home’s aesthetic. A desktop file contains and organises your paper while still looking good.

In terms of sorting your papers, I’m of the school that simple systems are better and that fewer categories will make it easier to maintain.

My favourite way is to use categories such as: “to pay” (immediate things such as bills, parking tickets, and so on); “to do” (less-immediate things, such as responding to an RSVP, signing your child up for summer camp, purchasing tickets for an upcoming event); “to read” (magazines, newsletters and so on); “to file” (bills, tax documents, any papers you need to keep long-term).

Q Do you have any advice on where to start with home organising? I feel as though every room in my home is a cluttered, unusable mess.

A This is something we hear all the time. The best approach is to take one area of your home at a time. Focusing on every room as a whole is going to feel overwhelming.

Create a schedule on your calendar to carve out time to go through your home in one to three-hour time slots. Anything more than that can become daunting.

Getting help from a professional organiser or a friend can make the work go a lot faster, and the support will be helpful.

*Expert Rachel Rosenthal is a professional organiser and owner of the organising firm Rachel and Co.

The Washington Post

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