Come tax time I always realize how disorganized I have been throughout the year. From the outside it looks organized; the mail is originally sorted into three piles: to pay, to file, and to shred. After this stage, it falls apart. The “to file” pile used to get put on top of the filing cabinet waiting for either Brad or me to take the time and put them in the correct files; however, throughout the past couple years this pile has turned into a box that goes for much longer stints before being sorted. The sorting task then becomes a much more daunting task which leads to the pile becoming even larger and the recursive equation begins again. Now, as I look for the proper tax forms to put into Turbo Tax I have to go digging and hope that I find all the necessary documents and don’t miss any deductions.
Another source of disorganization comes from all my donations to Goodwill throughout the year. As I put the bags together, I write down all of the items on a sheet of paper, and then leave it there…for the rest of the year. (Hopefully you see the dilemma).
This year I am going to simplify.
First, the mail will be “filed” in the kitchen. Instead of having a pile of all documents that need to be filed, I am going to pre-file them into an accordion file in the kitchen. This allows us to just pull the set of papers out of the accordion file and put them into the filing cabinet. No more tedious hours of making piles just to put them into the filing cabinet! (Or so I say at this point. Ask me about this in August if I’ve followed through…please, really do ask me and make sure I’ve kept it up). I’ve had these two accordion files for a few months, I originally found them on 75% off clearance at Target and knew that they would be perfect for some sort of organizing project. They have had a few random uses since then but this will be their final use. I pulled out Brad’s labeler and got to work labeling each section. I’m using one of the accordion files for Bills and the other for Statements.
The current issue with the Goodwill donations is that they are written down on scraps of paper and left around the house which leads to them getting lost or thrown away. I’m determined to fix this problem too. I found these cute folders in the Target clearance section so the plan is to put all donation lists into the folder as they are written. When I bring the donation to Goodwill and receive the donation slip, I can then staple the slip to its corresponding list.
Here are before and after pictures of my paper organization. The files in that filing cabinet have 3-4 years of paperwork and the drawers are getting a little stuffed. I didn’t get rid of all the paperwork for now, but all of the pre-2011 paperwork got moved to Rubbermaids and put in the basement until I can sort through and decide what needs to be kept. In a couple months I will move the 2011 paperwork down there as well so that only the current year will be in the filing cabinet.
The reason I like this system and am hopeful that I can keep it up is that it is easy and moves items off of my countertops. One of my goals for 2012 was to keep our kitchen counter cleaner and I believe that moving the mail filing station is one way to accomplish this.
When we got a wine fridge this past summer, it moved into the place where this cabinet was housed. We moved the cabinet against the wall in the living room and I think it will be perfect for decorative storage. Some of the squares can have cute decorative items and the others can be for small storage. I found the drawers on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond in December and knew they would work great to further divide the squares. My only wish was that a tall and short drawer would fit in one square; they are about ½” too tall to do this.
I worked this week on making the cube organizer prettier. I found a table runner on 70% clearance at Target and topped it off with Glassybabies and PartyLite Glowlites (the white candles will entirely glow when lit). The center cube has the electrical outlet and all of the wiring for the stick lights. I wanted a way to cover that cube so I used left over fabric from a previous project and stapled it to the front.
I had a bis of a mishap building one of the drawers. I went to put the last piece on and couldn't figure out why the holes didn't go all the way through. I pulled out Brad's drill, made my own holes, finished putting it together only to realize I had flipped the top and the bottom pieces. The top was no longer the nice pretty white color and I really didn't want to completely uninstall to fix it. Instead, I cut some pretty scrapbooking paper and put it on top of the two large drawers. I really like how it turned out, I have storage for all of the paperwork that comes through the mail, drawers for items that I want hidden and also display space for some lovely candles.