Thursday, March 2, 2017

Week 9: The Dreaded Paperwork

I feel like I am a bit behind on getting this post out there. We have been battling the cough, fever, congestion thing around here and it's wiping me out. I have just a few minutes before my NyQuil kicks in so I'll type up as much as I can....

To pay my way through Occupational Therapy school, I worked as a file clerk for a Neurology office. For a year and a half I would show up at noon to a stack of papers at least 2 feet high. Everything had to be alphabetized, and then filed in the correct patient charts.

I made it my personal goal to have the stack gone before the office closed at 5.

To many of you that probably sounds horrendous.

Organizing paper.

But, truly, I enjoyed that job immensely.

That should have clued me into something then, but I was on my way to a degree so I was too busy to stop and listen.

15 years later I am at a job where my main task is keeping track of all of the papers and making sure they are where they are supposed to be.

I love it.

For awhile I allowed this to make me feel lame and pretty pathetic. But I have had a few wise people speak truth to me and helped me to see that loving to do this type of thing doesn't make me a loser. It just makes me good at what I do.

This spills over into managing all of the papers at home, too.

Nothing makes me feel like our house is in chaos more than having papers everywhere. Papers and plastic grocery bags. Something about those grocery bags makes me think 'trash.' I can't stand to have them on the counters. Makes me feel like trash is all over my kitchen. A select few are sequestered to a corner in the laundry room where I can't see them and are only taken out when needed to line a bathroom trashcan.

But I digress.


First, I have a system as it comes in the door.  All junk mail immediately goes into the recycling bin. If it has identifiable info (i.e. credit card offers), it gets shredded. All of this is close to the entry so there are not many steps to take to make sure it gets done. I don't even look at the catalogs - right to recycling. They just contain things that I didn't think I needed until I saw them, so best stay far away.

The Stack. If a local school has a Recycling Gator, drop your mess of there.  The school gets paid by the pound for paper, so it's like you are donating to a school. You get rid of something you don't want, and the school gets money! Win-win.
What's left would be bills, and items that need addressed soon, so they get set beside my office computer. And I have a set day each week when I tackle those.

The other source of TONS of paper is school. So. Many Papers.

When Owen was in Kindergarten I thought it necessary to hold on to every precious thing.

Not anymore.  I do look at everything as it gets pulled out of the folders. But I'm a bit more selective now what makes the cut: a really good grade on something they worked hard to achieve, quirky stories and drawings, even a few rotten grades that can show them later just how far they've come.

I put all the keepers in a wall file.  At the end of the school year the kids help me sort and decide which of the papers they would like to keep. It ends up being a small assortment that goes into a binder for them for later.

I feel that I also need to address filing papers that are needed later, but I feel that it is so varying for everyone it's kind of hard to make a broad sweep.

Plus, the NyQuil is kicking in.....

So, I very well may address that topic next week....

But now, since paperwork talk has not only made YOU sleepy, but ME sleepy, too....

I bid you adieu.


  1. paperwork is such a monster for me. sorting mail immediately upon entry has helped a lot but i struggle with my kids' stuff, partly because they don't want me to get rid of it and sometimes because I don't want to get rid. I'm curious how the end of the year sorting of kids' papers goes...are they ok with tossing?

    1. Mandy, by the time we go through the papers, some of the attachment has waned. I have already done a pretty good purging before it gets to them choosing which ones to keep, so even if they choose to keep most of it, it's not that big of a deal.