Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Receipts, Coupons, and Other Little Papers

Another category of papers we need to discuss is what to do with the little, bitty, insty, weeny tiny papers in our lives. OK, maybe they aren't microscopic but what do you do with some of these kinds of papers?
Little papers come into our lives almost as easily as little pieces of dust. Seriously. Am I right?

Things like:


 Gift Cards

 and Frequent Shopper Punch Cards 

Just when you think you might have a handle on how to deal with your big papers, you start realizing that those might not be anywhere close to your biggest problem. Little Papers come into our lives constantly and, if you don't have a system for them, can quickly take over!

Just like there are lots of ways to Set up a Filing System (see it here), there are also millions of different methods, plans and theories for how to handle and deal with the little papers in our lives. And similar general principles also apply to these as well...namely, you've got to be careful to not keep EVERY one of them. Be careful and really scrutinize what you keep. One way to look at it is every time you "keep" a paper instead of immediately dealing with it and throwing it away, you are taking on more stress in your life.

That being said, there are plenty of little papers that are keepers and need a HOME, at least temporarily, and that is where something like the small binder or folder comes in:

What I use is my old Franklin Planner that used to be my brain (now the Iphone has taken over). What I like about it is it is small and durable and holds a lot. It fits nicely in my purse and makes it easy to find things in different categories. I don't use much of the "lists" section in the Franklin Planner (although it is nice to have some key information I have put in there) but because I still have this small binder and it is in great shape, I see no reason to buy something different. If I were going to go look for something else that could do the job, I might look at something like one of these:

The key is that you have a specific place for your small papers and that your "system" is mobile, meaning you can easily take your important small papers with you. Why?  So you aren't caught, for example, without them when you make an unexpected stop and need a coupon or receipt.

Speaking of receipts, there are many ways to handle these particularly abundant small papers. I have found that even though I don't like to keep a lot of things, I do keep my receipts. It is just worth it financially to be able to return items for the amount I paid instead of for whatever the store wants to give me for it. I keep all of my receipts (yes, even grocery receipts...I have needed them every once in a while) for 9-12 months. Once the month is over, I take a minute to take the receipts out of my small black binder from that month and put them into a white envelope labeled with that month.

Then I put that envelope in my file cabinet for safe keeping. If I was really, really limited on space, I might do two things differently: 1) before I put away the receipts for the month out of my planner I would throw away the grocery receipts and anything else that are for items that aren't returnable and 2) I would only keep the envelopes for receipts for 3-6 months instead of a year.

Last, but not least, I want to remind you of the many small papers that come into your life that should/could immediately be dealt with and THROWN AWAY! Anytime you come home from errands (or your spouse or kids come home from work/school) and have a slip from the library reminding you when your books are due, or an appointment card from your doctor, dentist office or hair stylist reminding you of when your next appointment is or a schedule of upcoming activities or a post-it note with a special phone number or other information on it you HAVE to take the time to deal with it and throw it away right away. Otherwise you'll find yourself drowning, right?  Small papers are dealt best with your secretary
(remember this?)
so just take the time right then to write it down and then THROW IT AWAY!
Phew....that felt good, right?

Here's to a better, more organized small papers life for you and yours dear readers!
It is a wonderful way to live!

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