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Reclaim Your Space: Organize Bills, Paperwork, and Other Items in Your Home

05/30/2014 01:16 pm ET | Updated Jul 30, 2014

Be honest...
How do you generally feel after looking around your home? Do you feel calm and relaxed? Or do you really feel overwhelmed and frustrated? Sometimes we think this is just par for the course and we become accustomed to feeling this way and don't even notice anymore.

But I'm not here to preach the demise of clutter or tell you to become a minimalist. As for me, I am starting to implement some general guidelines and basic ground rules as an attempt to live a calmer, simpler existence. The one where you wake up to clean clothes hung up, clear kitchen counters, and important papers in their place.

After paying close attention to the messy trend in our home, we noticed that it's not so much the clutter, we just don't routinely put stuff away. Setting up a system to handle all of this stuff is essential to making a household run smoothly.

Here's what I do. I make my kids empty their bookbags as soon as they get home. All papers need to be handled. I designate one spot to corral all of the papers that enter my house. As soon as I come in, I place the papers in this spot before doing anything else. Some items need immediate attention while others can be attended to at a later date. I handle whatever needs immediate attention. Also, I take action on anything you can do now. I put bills and financial documents in a red folder that sits on my kitchen counter. I know I will attend to it weekly and handle it from there.

I always take care of mail right away. It's too easy for it to pile up and potentially miss an important deadline if it isn't handled immediately. I'm sure to to check in on the other papers that don't need immediate attention.

As for other items that get left out, everyone has to straighten up before bedtime. Gadgets, chargers and cords need to be put away. Sneakers, jackets, and musical instruments need to be put in their rooms.

Mridu Parikh is a Simplicity and Organization Junkie for women who are tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. She teaches on-demand classes and one-to-one coaching for organization. She suggests using the 3 D's when it comes to organizing bills and statements. It's a three-file system. You can use tiers, filers, bins, baskets or whatever works best for you. Label them "To Do", "Doing", and "Done."

As bills and statements come in, put them directly into your "To-Do" file, so they are all in one place. When it comes time to work on your finances, ongoing documents should be placed in the "Doing" file as you will need these papers the next time you sit down to work on your finances. These include things like credit card charges you are disputing and tax information you are waiting for. As documents are completed, place them in the "Done" file, so you know they are ready to be filed away in a long-term system or tossed after the next billing cycle.

Here are some tips for staying organized from business owner, Shannon Jarvies. She runs an Etsy shop called Scrapits and swears by making a to-do list every day. She suggests listing items in order of importance with the most pressing task for the day as #1. You can also be more productive if your work space is tidy. Keep your desk and work area neat and clean at all times. File incoming mail daily to keep clutter to a minimum.

The Bottom Line

If your house seems cluttered, ask yourself if you have too much stuff or do you just need to put stuff away. Establish a routine to do so. Handle important paperwork that enters your home right away. Set up systems to handle thee items. This will help you work more effectively and have a sense of calm in your home.

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