sanity savers 7: print-ahead envelopes

sanity savers: a semi-regular series in which I share quirky tidbits and habits discovered in my quest to avoid panic, head trouble off at the pass, and uphold law and order in the West (or wherever you hang up your spurs).  While I certainly don’t think all of these ideas are completely original or something you’ve never heard before, I hope you find my ramblings helpful, inspiring, or adaptable for your particular situation.

Paperwork is one of the areas I have yet to master: it is out of control.  Every month after doing the bills, I swear that I will come up with a better system.  That dream has yet to be fully realized, but I’m chipping away at it slowly, but surely.  (And, fortuitously, I ran across Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify, the “Hot Spot” of which, this week, is Paper Clutter.  Although I’m not joining the project officially, I’m doing my best to conquer each “hot spot” at my own pace) 

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Having already been inspired to start a major spring cleaning frenzy by Sarah Jane prior to discovering Project: Simplify, the shelf pictured above isn’t a true representation of my normal paper mess.  And it isn’t the only one.  But, since starting my quest for paperwork mastery over a year ago, I have found a very small technique that helps cut down the stress. 

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After switching over to online billing for every account that I could, there were still a few companies we get bills from that didn’t offer that service and don’t provide courtesy envelopes to their customers.  To make my bill-paying each month as efficient as possible, I print off a six-month- or year-supply of pre-addressed envelopes for those companies.  Each month after writing my check, all that’s left to do is seal the envelope and place a stamp in the corner.  Maybe not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps, and I definitely get an extra boost knowing that I don’t have to hand-address two envelopes every month.

Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with monthly paperwork?

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