Last week-end I decided to tackle the one bad spot for clutter in my house – I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this – the kitchen counter. We have this one little corner that just accumulates stuff, no matter what I do. This time, instead of just putting everything away, I took everything off, laid it all out on the kitchen table and took a good look at what kind of stuff keeps landing there. The overwhelming offender is bills and mail, despite the fact that I have a system for dealing with them. After two years in this house, and two years of dealing with the same stuff in the clutter-corner, it’s time to admit that this current system does not work for us and move on to another solution.
I decided to go with the same super simple binder system that I use for my small business. It’s quick, easy and cheap. Here’s how I do it.
Supplies: binder, page protectors (open top), dividers, optional file dots
Cost: About $15
Time Required: 10-30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Your kids could do it
Choose dividers to either separate your bills by month or by payee. I enter all my bills on a monthly spreadsheet anyway, so I chose by payee with an extra section for receipts I want to keep for warranty purposes. I use the same system for my small business but that binder is monthly, which works better for bookkeeping. Choose what makes the most sense to you.
Next fill each section with page protectors. Just take a guess at how many you need, you can always add or remove later.
Then simply drop your bills into the page protectors. Use one page protector for each bill. The great thing about this system is you can easily file and flip through bills of different sizes.
And that’s it, you’re done! Wasn’t that easy?
Optional: If you want to mark your bills as paid, you can use file dots on the outside of the page protectors. When you sit down to pay your bills, simply pop a dot on them as you go.
I love this system, because it is quick and easy. My old accordian file seemed like a lot more work, since I had to bring it out and put it away after. The binders take up so little space, I can store both my home and business binders on my cookbook shelf in my kitchen with room to spare. Now when I bring in the mail, I can immediately slip the bills into the binder. No more counter clutter!
You could easily modify this system to store kids report cards and school work or any other ongoing paper problem. Have a great use for this project? Let me know or post a comment!