“I have so much paperwork. I’m afraid my paperwork has paperwork.” -Gabrielle Zevin, author 😂
As a doc wife, you are likely managing most of the household.
That means you pay your bills, file tax docs, and sign those permission slips for your kids.
Papers are E V E R Y W H E R E in your home.
And it’s a leading cause of STRESS ‼️
The chaos will cost you not only inner peace, but also time and money as well. If you let paper overcome you, you will pay late fees, hunt for information, and miss your appointments.
And that is no way to live.
Let me explain a system that WORKS for the DocWife.com household from which you can take away a tip or two.
Prevent Paper From Coming In
It comes down to this: if it has a digital format, I’m in!!
- Bills can be paid online.
- Statements can be downloaded from your online account.
- Taxes can be filed electronically.
- Invoices can be paid by Venmo, Zelle, Quikbook, or PayPal instead of mailing a check.
- Manuals, 401k/403b fund selections, warranties can be looked up online.
Manage Existing Paper
Every week, a pile accumulates in our home. I grab ALL the paper that exists in the entire house and then separate everything into 4 piles:
- Take Action
- Throw away
1. Take Action
I put this pile on top of my desk and make sure we ADDRESS THEM immediately.
- Forms to sign
- Save The Dates
Some documents should be saved and filed in a cabinet. These can be organized alphabetically, by client, or project — up to you.
- Medical bills
- Tax documents
3. Throw Away
I’m a fan of the “touch once” method.
On my way back from the mailbox, I head immediately to the trashcan. My poor junk mail never gets the chance to even land on my kitchen counter 😂
- Junk mail
- Take out menus
- Church bulletins
- Mountains of medical journals (the bane of every medical family’s existence) 😂
If my husband only needs to read one article in a medical journal, he tears it out and throws the rest away.
Papers I want to save don’t necessarily need to be scanned but they do need to go permanently into the file cabinet:
- Insurance policies
- Medical licenses
Again, can be organized alphabetically, by client, or project — up to you.
I also save holiday cards, wedding invitations, and notes that are special. For these, I use a binder clip to group papers like holiday cards from 2016, 2017, 2018, etc. to keep them together. I then store these in a nice brown kraft box from Michaels.
Turns out, our Kid #1 is a prolific artist. His school has even asked us to donate printer paper because he is responsible for using most of the school’s supply!
Here’s what I do for artwork:
I take a pic of his artwork using the Google scan app on my phone (it automatically reduces glare) and upload them to Shutterfly. When a coupon for unlimited pages for a photo book comes to my inbox, I use it and pay something like $35 for a 8×11 book of 200 pages. I keep his best work in a box.
Photos are hard to organize and there is just about every system for everybody’s preferences.
Here is a system that works for us:
- Organize by either event or chronologically. (Chronologically makes most sense in non-reoccurring cases; event makes most sense for annual holidays like Thanksgiving.)
- Write the date on the back. (If you can’t remember the exact year, write “circa YYYY.”)
- If two photos look really similar, keep the one that looks the best.
- Rename the digital file with year first: YYYY-MM-DD rather than DD-MM-YYYY.
- Put the original in archival-quality, non-acidic plastic sleeves and store away from light (like your living room) and places that could flood (like your basement).
For as long as papers exist, paper clutter will N E V E R end. It’s going to be a constant work in progress.
Just time block and put it on the calendar and keep at it!
Some of my best tips to take away from this post:
- Don’t allow junk mail to even hit your kitchen counter. Throw them away immediately.
- Rename digital files of photos with year first: YYYY-MM-DD rather than DD-MM-YYYY.
- Use Shutterfly to create books of all your kids’ artwork.
- Tear articles from medical journals that your DrSpouse needs, throw away the rest.
I know you’re managing most of the household. From your kids’ school, appointments, to your work and your DrSpouse’s work, and everywhere in between, you’re drowning.
You’ve had it up to “here” with PAPERS EVERYWHERE.
Learn how to manage incoming papers as well as sorting existing papers and you can be in better control of not only the physical clutter but also avoid late fees and hunting for papers.
And you can go back to a less stressful life and what’s most important: your time with your family.
I am hugging and supporting you, friend ❤️
To strong medical families,
Did I miss any paper clutter in your life that I should address?
How do YOU handle medical journals that every medical family HATES? 😜