Bind Up That Paper Monster!

Published originally in July, 2010 via  my website.   Copyright © 2010 M. Colleen Klimczak


I hear paper management questions all the time:

  • “What do I do with my kids’ school papers?”
  • “I cut out lots of recipes, how can I remember to use them?”
  • “How do I store my papers so that I can find things easier?”
  • “Maintenance is a pain – how can I make it go easier?”

            The answer to all these questions can be “Binders!”  Early on in my business, a friend and client helped me embrace the idea of Binders, so thanks to DCD!

 When to use a Binder system:

  • When you work with categories, like Children’s School / PTA or Medical Papers, 2009;
  • If you are a visual person or prefer to see your papers instead of filing them in file cabinets;
  • When you want or need your papers to be portable;
  • You have space limitations, binders work well instead of large file cabinets;
  • When you don’t have a system that works, or are ready to try something different to get a handle on your paper management (WHICH MEANS ALL OF US!).

Why use a Binder system:

  • You can read your information like a book;
  • You can organize your information how it makes sense to you;
  • Binders are Portable, to work on when you are on vacation, when you travel, when you are out and have some time while waiting, etc., or to take with you to doctor’s appointments;
  • Binders are Flexible, you can add or subtract folders as life evolves;
  • Binders are Duplicate-able, meaning if they work for one family member’s medical issues, perhaps you can use them for other areas of your life.

Situations that might benefit from a Binder System:  I use them for:

  • Working with categories, like
    • Children’s School / PTA or Medical Papers, 2009
    • Class topics / presentation notes, organized by topic
    • Recipes, like Main Dishes, Appetizers, Desserts, Beverages, Family Favorites
    • Children’s academic papers, organized chronologically and by child (see below for example)
    • For Bills, organized in pockets in the Binder…
    •      Chronologically by year, then by vendor
    •      Chronologically by year, then by month
    •      Use pockets for pen, calculator, check book, stamps / address labels

How to set up a Binder system:

  • If you don’t have Binders and accessories at home, take a trip to the office supply store.
  • Pick up a few 1”-3” 3-ring binders, a 3-hole punch, a stapler, 2 or 3 sets of binder pocket folders with tabs, plus pens and notepapers.
  • Sort your papers into categories, if you have not done so already, and pick a category like “Your Name – Medical” to try out the Binder idea.
  • Within my Colleen- Medical binder, I have clear binder pocket folders labeled:
  • An example of a non-medical Binder is a Binder for each student in your home.
  • As my kids get older and involved in more academic and leadership opportunities, it is so easy to access their report card history, special achievements and activities, since all the information is already grouped together.
    • Insurance Statements from my insurance company
    • Bills or statements from my physician appointments
    • Completed / Paid bills for those insurance statements and paid bills, once they are matched up and paid in full
    • Notes or articles I want to ask my doctor about
    • Articles about things I want to learn more about, like Heart health or weight loss
    • Other items might include pre or Post-operative instructions, prescriptions to fill, information about prescription meds I am taking, etc.
    • You can also keep your lab results or similar items in a binder, to make it easier to flip through them and review your progress over time.
  • We have 3 sons, therefore 3 Binders on the shelf in the kitchen.
  • Each child has a Binder, and in that Binder is a pocket for each school year.
  • We 3-hole punch the various papers or use sheet protectors (also available at your office supply store) to store awards received, newspapers articles, school pictures in photo pages, grade reports, team pictures from sports, notes, etc.

     Imagine the Binder system is like the main drive and folders in your computer.  The Binder is the main drive, and the binder pocket folders are the sub-directories for different areas of your life.  Think about the different areas, the “categories” of your life, and give paper management and a Binder system a try! 

Published originally in July, 2010 via  my website.   Copyright © 2010 M. Colleen Klimczak

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