Keeping on top of paperwork


Paperwork can easily clutter up a home if left for longer than ooh, 3 days but it can be pretty easy to keep on top of it. We operate a fairly full on system which includes a filing cabinet and all manner of sticky labels and this is mostly because of a few business interests and my working freelance from home. However we also have a day-to-day system (mostly for home bills) which means we don’t get swamped by piles of paperwork which have yet to make their way from the front door to the filing cabinet because they’re yet to be paid  etc.

It’s pretty simple. If I have time (if I don’t, I shove the letters into a letter rack beside the front door and they get dealt with at the first available opportunity) I open every single item of post the second it comes in the door and anything which needs to be paid goes into a green folder, everything else which needs my attention but doesn’t involve money goes into a pink folder, anything which I can’t pay from home goes into a blue folder and everything else is recycled. These are kept by the front door then scooped up every Friday morning and taken into the study. I then take 10-15 minutes to pay any bills, file the statements into the filing cabinet and add any dates to diaries and calendars.

It is a system which really works for our home and means I spend a max of 30 minutes a week sorting through bills and sorting out my receipts for tax. It doesn’t become a hassle to deal with and it means nothing gets lost or forgotten about. Before we implemented this basic system we were often late in paying bills and found ourselves really stressed when looking at the piles of paperwork on the desk. I’m really happy with this system now, it take minimal time and thought which in my book is perfect.

How do you keep on top of your paperwork?



P.S. This is the Wednesday task from That Housekeeping Post, read more here.

P.P.S. With Google Reader dying off make sure you’re keeping yourself up to date with mine and other blogs by using Bloglovin’ or Feedly.

This page and all pages on this site contain links to outside sources including paid affiliates. A Thrifty Mrs is not responsible for the content of any third party website. Click here for my disclosure policy.

This page and all pages on this site contain links to outside sources including paid affiliates. Skimlinks facilitates affiliate links automatically once placed organically on a webpage. A Thrifty Mrs is not responsible for the content of any third party website.


  1. I’ve been intending to sort my paperwork for ages but the thought of it is so boring I haven’t done it! It’s in a system so much as it’s got it’s own drawer and I try to write on the envelope what’s inside, that speeds things up. Hannah x

  2. I just use one massive folder for my paperwork. It really needs organising though – thanks for the reminder. But I’m not as bad as my boyfriend. He currently uses a cereal box for his…that needs to be rectified, lol.

  3. Great idea. I could do with a better system! Definitely need to review and make a few changes!

  4. I place all of my letters etc into a bowl and out to one side and then once a month I go through them and organize them all properly and this seems to really help me! Great post!

  5. I like everything to be where it belongs, so i also use folders ! Green is for very important, yellow is school and pink is hobbies :) everything stays in its place ! xx

  6. Your blog is fantastic for reminding me of all the little things I let slip that together amount to clutter and mess. Like for example dealing with papers and letters – I sort of just stash them together in a massive pile in a drawer……disaster!


  7. Anonymous says:

    I open all my mail as it comes in and pretty much make a point of dealing with it once a week otherwise it all goes into meltdown …..i have a letter rack by the front door and a ‘to do’ folder in my household organiser just in case anything can’t be dealt with pronto…..Shelley x

  8. This is such a great idea. I’m moving out this year and I’ll definitely do this to keep on top of all the paperwork.
    Would you maybe visit our blog and maybe give us some feedback? That would be awesome. Your blog is really great :)

    Laura from

  9. great idea! paper work is the worst when it builds up too long.
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

  10. brilliant idea!

    she goes wear

  11. Such a great system :)
    Charlotte xxx Something Special To Say

  12. I don’t get much mail as I switched from paper to electronic copies and have direct debits set up for most things. I have such a small flat I have nowhere to keep all the paperwork which builds up. Good way to keep on top of things though and check you with your filing cabinet. You are very organised.

  13. This is such a great way to organise! I like to open all my letters on the day but it takes me a few days before I start to organise the bank statements/ bills together, I definitely need to do this! xxx

  14. Great ideas. I have changed most of my utility bills to e-billing now so I find it a bit easier to stay up to date and organised.

    I have a friend who never opens mail. It baffles me. She and her husband take bin bags of their mail out of the attic every couple of years and have a post opening marathon. Odd. What if she missed an important or awesome letter?!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    2 years, 2 flats and a number of jobs later I have finally created a real filing system!

    As you can imagine I have quite a lot of paper work so scanning and sorting everything into folders to begin with took a teeny bit of patience and a very high boredom threshold, but as we don’t have a lot of space for storage this seemed the best way of keeping everything accessible.

    Recent/important things are kept in a box with hanging files and everything else is safely stored until I can be bothered to deal with it.

    The plan going forward is to deal with post when it comes in, then scan and store for future reference so it doesn’t become a mammoth task every couple of months.

    Thank you Thrifty for guilting me into sorting it all out!

Speak Your Mind