Here at inAWE Handmade, we are interested in ALL. THINGS. PAPER – including paper organization. It’s that time of year when many of us look to find solutions to our problems. We want to be more organized, more disciplined, more blah, blah, blah. It can be a long and overwhelming list.
HOW TO ORGANIZE PAPERS IN YOUR HOME OFFICE
I’d like to share three ways to organize papers in a home office. Each of these were the result of me learning a lesson the hard way, so I’m hoping my experience might save you the trouble. First, we’ll talk about how to organize bills because we’ve all got them. Next, we will discuss how to keep track of bills and payments because we’ve all got to make them. Finally, I’ll share how I created a way to organize my passwords and usernames because we've all got to keep track of them.
HOW TO ORGANIZE BILLS SO THEY GET PAID - ON TIME!
When I was young and childless (aka all my brain cells intact with lots of time on my hands), I was the most organized bill payer you’ve ever seen. My college roommate would chuckle every time I pulled out my milk crate filing cabinet with all the copies of my bills and checks (yes, I’m that old). Many decades later during a phone chat, she asked if I kept my bills still that organized. I laughed so hard that I almost burst her eardrums. Two children and a full-time job meant it was all I could do to just keep them paid – forget about any documentation. With online bill pay, bank auto drafts and such, it is SO much easier to stay on top of paying bills. However, it’s not often a walk in the park and a system can make all the difference. I’d like to share mine.
First, let’s talk about how I keep my bills organized. I have a bright colored (yes – it’s blue) file folder that I use to corral my bills. I used to keep it near the place where I opened the mail. Now it’s in my home office.
Basically, this is where I put any bills that I receive during the month – via snail mail or electronic mail. I have this system in place because one month (many years ago) I misplaced a department store credit card bill, forgot to pay it and opened up the next month’s statement to see a large interest payment posted along with a late payment fee. Like I said, I hope you will learn from my painful (and expensive) life lesson.
HOW TO KEEP TRACK OF BILLS AND PAYMENTS
Now let’s discuss how I keep track of my bills and payments. I keep a monthly bill tracker in the blue file folder mentioned above. (Just in case, I forget about a bill or it gets lost either in the mail or in my inbox.) I’m sharing this free printable bill payment organizer with you.
You can see that I also include bills that aren’t due every month, such as insurance premiums. I just draw a box around the month when it is due to make sure I don’t miss a payment. Because I have missed scheduling an insurance payment. Fortunately, I can count on my insurance agent’s office to kindly remind me to pay it before it’s too late ;) Again – life is full of meaningful lessons.
HOW TO ORGANIZE PASSWORDS
Finally, I want to share how I was finally able to organize passwords and usernames. A couple of years ago, I was VERY frustrated that I once again found myself clicking on the Forgot Password? link on yet another website. UGH – so much wasted time and energy. I was finally at my wit’s end, so I started thinking of a solution.
Since I make my living using the tools of paper, ink and a personal computer, those where the tools I used for this ongoing issue. I created myself a password book. I used a blue patterned paper for the cover. Then, got busy with the overall design. I decided to use book rings so I could easily rearrange the cards alphabetically. I also thought I would prefer one page for each website. I created the inside pages with a front and back side. I used my new book to manage my password logins for about a month. It was so easy-to-use, and I loved everything about it.
One day it dawned on me that I should share it with our customers and offer it as a new product, so I did. A few months later, a customer asked if I would be willing to use the design to create an address book. Well, yes…of course, that is a wonderful idea. Another new product was born. I recently posted a video on YouTube where I share all the features and the unique design of these desk accessories.
Since early 2020, we’ve sold hundreds of these desk organizers – both as password books and address books. This year it is our goal to create recipe binders using the same design idea. (One of our daughters came up with this idea, and it’s a gem.)
So, there you have it - three ways to organize the paper in your home office. I hope you can use these tips and tools to save you time and trouble in the future – as well as save money by avoiding late payment fees!
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