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Planning Retirement Online

No more clutter in later life


If you are the kind of person who has a pile of unsorted papers on the desk, under it and lurking in various corners, Sue Kay is exactly who you are looking for. An expert in helping people tidy up their homes and offices, she offers personal help and also runs a website for hopeless cases. This adaptation of a recent newsletter sent out by Sue, tells how to organise papers and documents 

Dealing with paperwork and documents strikes fear and panic into many people's hearts both at work and at home. It's a myth that computers have led to the paperless office. On the contrary we all seem to be drowning in a never-ending stream of paper.

Here's the 5 most common habits that lead to paper clutter


         piling papers everywhere - on the floor, behind the sofa, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, and under, on and all around your desk... As these piles develop important papers get muddled up with old newspapers, clothing, unopened junk mail. So important things like cheques and car insurance get lost. You waste a lot of time and get frustrated and stressed looking for them.

         holding onto old newspapers and magazines because you are sure one day you'll have the time to read them.

         pulling out articles of interest but then just adding these to the paper mountain

         not having a simple up-to-date filing system or not having anywhere at all to keep documents

         not dealing with paperwork or post on a regular basis. A backlog builds up which would be daunting for anyone!

If you recognise yourself, don't despair. Follow the tips for organising your paperwork and make a start today.

At home

Choose one place to store all your paperwork. Avoid the kitchen (it's too greasy) and your bedroom (this is your sanctuary to relax in). Choose your spare room, a corner of your dining room or living room. Get a cardboard box or plastic crate and gather up all the papers you can find. Now go through the pile one paper at a time and allocate to one of the following categories.

         Action - buy an individual filing tray for paper that needs action, like bills to pay or letters to answer. Note down these actions in a notebook, diary or on your computer.

         Rubbish - either bin or recycle it. Invest in a shredder to dispose of any confidential information. Rymans and other office suppliers have a good selection of these.

         File - if you already have a filing system then file as you go. If not, buy some transparent folders plus labels and put all similar items together - all documents to do with your car, all investment documents, all gas bills, all bank statements, all appliance manuals. Make sure you label everything. Use specific categories like water rates or home insurance. You are aiming to find documents easily - ideally within 30 seconds!

         Read - No-one has time to read everything. If you're too busy to catch up with the backlog of unread magazines, pass them on to someone else who will enjoy them.

         Sentimental - keep special birthday, Xmas cards and letters, but be selective. Store in a beautiful memory box.

Now you have sorted your paperwork you will be able to tell what size of filing cabinet you need or how many box files to buy.

At work

I recently visited an accountant. His desk was piled so high with files that our eyes could only meet over a wall of documents. Perhaps he thought it made him look busy and efficient. To me it felt like the whole lot would topple down at any time. Having a clear desk doesn't mean you're idle - instead it means you're efficient and ready to deal with things as they arise. So remember:

         Don't pile paperwork on the floor. This includes the area under your desk!

         Deal with things at the time whenever possible. Open the post daily and get rid of junk mail immediately.

         Springclean your filing system at least once a year. The dead time between Christmas and New Year is a good time to do this. It's amazing how quickly most paperwork is no longer essential.

         If in doubt about how long to keep financial records have a chat with your accountant.

Keep your desk clear and tidy it up at the end of each day

Don't be scared of paper. Remember you're in control of it - it's not in control of you. Save yourself time, stress and money by getting on top of it today.

Good luck and if you need help then give Sue at no more clutter a call. Her background in setting up information systems for charities means she enjoys sorting out paperwork. Ideal for your home filing, your home office or sorting out a small business. A 4 hour session costs from 200 in
London . Additional travel charges will apply outside this area.

Phone Coaching

For those of you living outside the
London area Sue offers phone coaching to help you on the path to clearing clutter from your home and office. A coaching package of 100 includes 1 hour session plus 2 half hour sessions. You are free to email in between times with any queries

Unusual Gift

Why not ask for a decluttering gift voucher for Christmas? 200 for 4 hour visit or 100 for the phone coaching package. Make 2004 the year you kiss goodbye to clutter taking over your life.

Sue's Autumn Read

The decluttering book that changed my life is "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston Price 6.99. It's a great read even if you don't believe in Feng Shui. Karen looks at the emotional blocks to decluttering and helps you to overcome them.

Sue Kay works with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small businesses, declutter before a house move, prepare their spare room for a new baby and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're selling your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market, to achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help call Sue on 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at

2002, 2003 no more clutter



laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwise, reports from the REACH files, and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

To view the latest articles and indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest here or above.  To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature below.



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