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How to Organize Your Paperwork

Fight back against paperwork clutter with these simple strategies.

Designate a Mail Zone
Make sure there's a garbage can nearby so you can chuck all of the unwanted stuff.

Use an Inbox and Outbox
These can be wall pockets, a leather box, or a pouch that hangs off a knob on the back door. Your outbox is for what goes out with you the next day.

Have a Main Bin
You can put your bills, stamps, checkbook, and a pen inside, and place it on a bookshelf for easy access. Pop the lid on when guests come by.

Pay Bills Online
Download your credit card bills and bank statements and back them up on an external hard drive once a month to reduce the chance of identity theft.

Buy Mobile File Boxes
They'll keep your paperwork organized and handy. When mail comes in, either file it away or shred it.

Keep a Paper Shredder
It insures safe disposal of paperwork with personal identification information.

Don't Neglect Mail
Don't get overwhelmed every month -- look at your schedule and pick one day a week to spend half an hour going through it.

Do a Once-a-Year Purge
If you aren't sure about throwing away something, ask your accountant. The IRS has three years to audit you, so you can probably get rid of files older than that.

Make a Mag Space
Forgo the sofa-side bin and go for a wall rack. Your favorite mags can be affordable wall art, and more importantly -- contained!

Nestpert Amy Brenna of Brenna Consulting, the organization wiz. For more great ideas, visit BrennaConsulting.com .

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-- Natalie Ermann Russell

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