DO NOT LET THE PAPERWORK WIN! Tips for Organising and and decluttering your paperwork in Germany
One thing that threw me for a loop was the amount of mail and paper work I received when I first came to Germany I just was not ready for the shear amount of papers and mail I needed to keep track of. And it didn't take long at all for me to be completely buried in stacks and stacks of it. Anytime I had an appointment you would find me feverishly searching for one paper or the other.I am gradually putting those days behind me with these few organising tips I would like to share.
Have a filing system in place
Key to preventing a big stack of papers all over the place is to have a place to put them. I put my documents in a prospeckthüllen (Transparent document protectors) before I file them. It makes it easy to take out and file. I use to use the normal big Orduners (Office file fiolders) until I found magazine file folders which really cut down my filing time
.Another key thing is to have system that quickly sorts out in coming mail and papers before you get to file them. I have labelled 3 envelope folders that say bills to be paid, Take Action and To be filed. I have a bag have named my Ordnung muss sein bag with these three envelope folders and I go down with it to the mail box and put them in for later organisation.
Take care of mail right away.
Because I have the tenancy to procrastinate and let a lot of things pile up I try my best to take care of my mail immediately by processing them into the envelope folders I talked about or immediately throwing away junk mail or mail I wont need immediately after reading them at the mail box. I also throw away unnecessary envelopes and do not even bring it into my home. If you cannot do this I suggest you have a bin at the place you process your mail for immediate binning.
Have a calendar and Journal
A lot of papers can be gotten rid of simply by writing the information in your calendar and scheduling it or on your to do list in a Journal. Better yet take a picture of the document especially if it is not a form to fill or you only need the information on it and schedule it on your phone calendar. I use my Google Calendar and my keep app for this.
Scheduled a day to take care of them
No matter how hard we try, there are sometimes these letters do pile up. Especially for me in my 'To Be Filed Folder' so I have scheduled one day in the week where I do some of my filing. I also use that day to file and purge some of my daughters numerous art work.
Know what you can get rid of after some years.
Purging papers is always a good idea. For example there are bank statements you can get rid of after sometime. What I do is to get a condensed statement from my bank once every year and throw away the monthly statement I print out of the machine. I also file and archive some papers in a box with the year on it and put it in the cellar and purge them every year.
Take pictures and put on phone for non essential documents like I mentioned earlier. You can compress the documents even further by turning them from images into PDF for free with a website like Ilovepdf.com. I will also advice you get cloud storage like dropbox, google drive or icloud to free up your devices.
WRITTEN BY: MAAME DENTAA AMOO
Image Credit: https://www.freepik.com/photos/woman'>Woman photo created by master1305 - www.freepik.com