I have lived in my condo for 14 years. I have had much challenges of managing my paper, especially my mail.

I live with a roommate, so I try to respect the common areas, so I end up taking my paperwork—whether it's from work, church ministry or just personal financial and junk mail—into my bedroom to read, sort or file. I do have a long commute to and from work (1.5 hours each way). So it's good in a way that I can catch up on reading some of my paper stuff like magazines, newspapers, etc. However, it is a tiring commute, so I just don't bother recycling them after I finish reading and take them into my bedroom.

I would appreciate any hints and helps. Thanks!

— Ruth

Ruth, it sounds to me that you have a busy life with a tough commute and a lot going on in your life. However, you need to commit to keeping your living space clutter-free and organized so that your home becomes a haven and a relaxing place for you rather than a place that stresses you out.

When it comes to the paperwork, you need first to establish a "mail zone" or mail center in your home where all the paperwork lives. At the moment, it's all over the place and has invaded your bedroom! On a desk or somewhere similar, set up a mail tray for paperwork that needs attention. Invest in a
shredder to dispose of any paperwork that has sensitive personal information on it. This is where you have stamps, your checkbook and other items needed for bill paying. This is the zone where paperwork lives and nowhere else.

Additionally, you give time to what you think is important. So, moving forward, you need to commit a regular time each day to dealing with paperwork—as that seems to be the main issue for you. Try committing just 10 or 15 minutes every day when you get home from work to dealing with mail and other paperwork. By establishing this routine, you'll then make organizing a part of your daily life.

— Peter


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