Declutter Those Bills [OYF #3]

Okay you got your mind right, you picked a day to talk about money, now it’s time to get organized.

You probably have bills, statements, and other financial documents in different places around your house, right? We’re going to declutter all of those piles!

I know it’s probably a tall order to gather everything up and sort it all in one day, but trust me, it’s easier just to get it done at once.

And once you declutter, if you put your future statements in the right place as soon as you get it in the mail, you’ll never have to declutter again!

Round ‘Em Up!

This is a super important step! Decluttering your bills will make it easier to calculate your net worth later on, and will help you keep track of the things that need to be paid.

The first thing you’re going to do is round up all of the financial documents you have. Every last bit. 

I’m talking about bank statements, credit card statements, old tax returns, investment documents, anything regarding payday loans. Round up all of the documents and put it in one big pile (Konmari-style).

Don’t forget to check places like your car!

Sort and Purge

The next thing you’re going to do is go through each document one by one and sort them into 3 different piles:

  • Bills that are due soon, or documents you need to act on
  • Documents you want to keep (these will be filed away)
  • Things to shred and/or throw away

If you’re unsure about what to keep or purge let me give you a few helpful tips:

  • Keep all unpaid bills, and timely documents
  • Keep most recent statements (you can file these), older statements are usually available online
  • Keep all tax returns, year-end investment statements, and receipts for big ticket items like appliances!
  • Purge bills that you’ve already paid and old account statements

Create a Filing System

You should have gotten rid of everything in your “purge” pile, and you should only have your “bills due” and “keep/file” piles.

For the bills that are due soon, put those on your desk or wherever you pay your bills. If you can, get a document tray or special box to put the bills in (you don’t want them getting lost in the shuffle).

If you need to, take time to pay those bills.

Now you have the bills and documents you want to keep, what you’re going to do is either file them away (in a filing cabinet) or you can scan them into Evernote or Google Drive!

I created digital copies of my documents and kept the hard copies of my documents and filed those (better safe than sorry).

Now your documents are all in the right spot! How do you feel?!

Going Forward

I just wanted to talk about what to do going forward. I know you just decluttered your financial documents and that’s great! But you also need to think about what you’re going to do the next time you get a financial document.

As soon as you get something in the mail you need to decide if it’s something that needs to be paid, something you should keep, or something that can be tossed.

  • If it’s something that needs to be paid, pay it right away or place it with your other bills that are due.
  • If it’s something you want to keep, file it that day.
  • If it’s something that needs to be tossed, shred it, or throw it away the same day you receive it.

Don’t start building up small piles!

I’ve created a handy checklist you can use when you get a new item in the mail.