Disgusted with myself for the slovenly sloth I'd become before the holidays, I set out to make some changes. Seriously, you have. no. idea. how much time I wasted in my pajamas, goofing off on Facebook and letting my household crumble around my ears. Anyway, I've determined that I will do better. And I have. I go to bed each night with a clean kitchen. I shower and dress before I take the girls to school. We make up the bed every morning. I wash one or two loads of clothes each day so I can stay on top of the laundry~not buried underneath it. And I've been enjoying some really special time with God each morning as I read through the Bible in chronological order. Now, I realize most people probably already do those things; but as I mentioned before, I was in a bad, bad way.
My job for today was to clean off the kitchen counter tops. I worked my way around the kitchen removing everything in small sections, dusting, cleaning and then putting it back before moving on to the next section. I ended at the point where all the "To Be Filed Later" things land. That is the stack of bills, receipts, documents etc, that never make it to the file cabinet in my bedroom. It was about 11 inches tall. Seriously. I dreaded that pile because the detailed filing system that I use took too much time. That and the fact that the pile was located in the kitchen, while the files were located in the bedroom. Can you say "procrastination"?
So I decided it was finally time to sort the pile. I sat down in the living room where I'd have plenty of room to spread out. My plan was to do a "preliminary sort" forming smaller piles of similarly related documents and then sort each smaller pile into individual files. But then it dawned on my that in this day of computers and online transactions, do I really need every single hard copy of every single bill to be filed in order by month? So I freed myself from the bondage of my intricate filing system. I wound up with "Category" folders. With this method, I was able to divide all of 2009's bills into about 7 files. For example, "Insurance". Everything that has to do with insurance is in one place~health insurance, home insurance, car insurance and life insurance. Granted, it is not in any sort of order; but in the event I needed to find a document, it will be much easier to sift through the Insurance folder than to rifle through an 11" stack. In the "Credit Cards" file, I put MasterCard, Visa, Old Navy and the gas card. I did the same for "Phones", "Retirement", "House-financial", "Banks", and "Miscellaneous".
Now there are two types of people reading this. The first type's eye is twitching and they are about to have a panic attack because I've cross-contaminated all my documents. The second type is thinking, "Duh! Isn't that how everyone does it?" So for the first group, I was once one of you. But my need for perfection in filing meant that it just didn't get done at all and instead loomed like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in my kitchen invoking tremendous guilt in me everytime I passed by. To the second group, I'm not claiming to be Columbus. But I'm so glad I "discovered" this easier, less stressful way of keeping up with paperwork.
So now, not only is my counter top clear of clutter; but my conscience is also free from guilt. The BEST thing is that I've already made new Category folders for 2010 and placed them in an inconspicuous spot near where the old pile once stood. This way, I'll be able to keep up with/file things as they come in instead of letting them accumulate.
And that is the BEST feeling!