Tackle Your Paper Pile in Minutes a Day
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Sunshine, rain, and hail! It certainly has been an interesting day here in San Francisco!

Welcome to the April Issue of Create Your Home. In this issue, we discuss those dreaded piles of paper and ways to create a more manageable paper system. Be sure to download my Quick-Guide to Paper Flow to give you a streamlined approach to tackling your piles. 

In this issue, I am excited to be launching Donation Spotlight, where a local nonprofit organization is featured each month. My goal is to encourage readers to donate items they no longer need to these worthy organizations!

Also, check out the On The Blog section to get some ideas on how to get birthday cards (a fun form of paper!) out on time and in style.

Happy Spring,
APRIL 2018
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a San Francisco-based home organizing service.
At PICK IT UP design and organizing come together.
Find Your Flow

For many people, the constant onslaught of paper is a challenge that never seems to end. I often hear:

"What should I do with this?"
"I have a file cabinet, but I have no idea what's in there."
"Do really I need this?"

The answer, of course, depends on the paper and the person. I have found the trick to managing household papers is to have a system in place that reliably catches all that paper and helps you decide what do with each item. Think of this as your paper flow. 

In the Pick It Up Quick-Guide to Paper Flow I discuss the three steps to creating an effective paper flow. Papers should land in the same location each day. They should be processed with regularity, and a system is needed for both short and long-term retention. Download the guide for additional tips on creating your flow!

An area where many people get hung up is reference files. Most of us have a filing cabinet, but for many people, it is full of old files and is often in an inaccessible location. By following the below steps, you can bring your filing cabinet back to life!

1) PURGE. Dust off that cabinet and purge it like crazy! The older the files, the greater the chance they can be tossed or shredded. Ask yourself if you really need the papers for reference? Are these documents accessible online? Tax documents only need to be kept for seven years. Ask your CPA if you have any specific tax-related questions or check out the IRS retention guidelines. Always shred any documents with personal information like your social security number or account numbers.

2)  STRUCTURE. Now that your file cabinet has been whittled down to current files, start giving it some structure. Do your remaining files fall into natural categories? Common categories would be Auto, Finances, Home and Health. Create a broad category and nest appropriate files under this heading. Here is an example:

AUTO (the broad category)
Auto Insurance 
DMV Registration 

I find it is visually helpful to keep the broad category tab on the far left and the sub-folder tabs to the right. If you like to alphabetize, go for it!

3)  MAINTAIN. Now that you have an easy-to-use filing system all you have to do is maintain it. Easier said than done, I know! File your papers right away, to avoid a huge pile of documents that need to be filed. Purge your filing cabinet a few times a year to keep it current. 

Filing may seem tedious, but with a little time and work, it can become a routine that helps keep your life running smoothly.

Donation Spotlight for April!
I recently came across a wonderful nonprofit organization called Bike Kitchen. Their website states:

"The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. The Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, encourage re-use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bicycles."

How great! If you have some bikes or bike parts that you no longer need, consider donating them to this worthy organization! Check out other Donation Spotlight organizations
on the blog. Have a favorite donation spot? Let me know!

650H Florida Street, San Francisco, CA

Birthday Cards... Done!
I never used to get birthday cards out on time. Truly. I had people's birthday's on my calendar, I had their address, I had birthday cards, I even had stamps on hand. Still, I never seemed to get the cards out in time. 

I am happy to say all that changed last year. Why? I started a birthday card tickler system. I know at this point you're thinking, "What the heck is a tickler system?" Admittedly it's a strange name, but it's just a reminder system that "tickles" your memory. It's also an easy way to get ahead on those pesky cards. With a few simple supplies and a little time, you can get all your birthday cards taken care of for the year!

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