HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Organizing Your Household Papers Quiz
by Staff
One challenge that everyone faces is how to organize all the papers that find their way into a home. With bills to pay, forms to sign, checks to reconcile and things to remember, staying organized can be a headache.

Why would anyone bother to set up an organized system for dealing with household papers?

  • Chasing papers wastes valuable time and money.
  • Missing a bill or failing to mail a payment will incur late fees and even loss of service.
  • Both of the above.

What is a first step you can take to organize your papers, bills and letters?

  • Gather your papers together and wrap them with an elastic band.
  • Designate one area in your home for these papers.
  • Take your papers to work with you and file them in a folder in your desk.

Once you have your papers gathered in one designated area, what would be a good next step?

  • Set up a filing system.
  • Sort your papers by category and use rubber bands to keep them together.
  • Throw out all papers that are older than a six of months.

When you are filing your papers, what can you do with items that do not fit well in a particular category?

  • Throw them out.
  • Place them in another spot and if you have not used them in two months, you do not need them.
  • Designate one folder or tab as a miscellaneous category.

You have your file system set up and you filed everything that was lying around, now what?

  • Once a month review your files and file any new papers in the proper category.
  • Start opening and filing your mail regularly.
  • Make only one person in the home responsible to maintain the files weekly.

What should you do with bills received in the mail?

  • Set one day of each week to pay bills in your “To Pay” folder.
  • Sit down and write a check to pay each bill as it arrives in the mail.
  • File your bills in a folder labeled “To Pay” and pay them on the last day of each month.

What is a good strategy to employ to ensure that you actually mail your prepared bill payments?

  • Get some exercise and walk to the closest mailbox once you complete your weekly bill paying session.
  • Hang a bin or basket at the front door for your car keys and your items to mail.
  • Have your kids or a significant other take care of the mail on the way to school or work.

If you have children in your home, what can be done with papers that need to be signed and returned to school?

  • Have your children place these papers in your key/mail basket.
  • Keep a clipboard in a prominent spot and the kids can snap their papers into it for you to look at.
  • Children have to learn responsibility so make it their job to show you papers from school when you get home.

What is a great way to organize your address book?

  • Write entries only in pencil so it is easy to update them.
  • Scrap the address book and input them into your cell phone instead.
  • Scrap the address book and replace it with index cards.

What is an important filing task that you should take care of on a regular basis?

  • Go through your folders and discard outdated papers that are no longer required.
  • Have your spouse or a good friend audit your files to make sure you are really organized.
  • Each December after the holiday, you need to move files to a box labeled by year and start fresh with empty files.

What is the best way to track appointments for family members, meetings, birthdays and other special events?

  • Everyone knows that the best place for these events is on sticky notes on a computer monitor or refrigerator.
  • Enter events in your home computer with an alarm 24 hours in advance to alert you of a pending event.
  • Hang a large wall calendar that you can write these event on in advance.

What is a frequent recommendation made by time management gurus?

  • Make a special time to take care of your own needs.
  • Write a daily and weekly to do list, cross off items as you complete them.
  • Attend our time management seminar so you can organize your life.

What is a good task management plan that will help to keep you from pulling out your hair?

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Get eight hours sleep each night.
  • Delegate responsibility to family members.

No one likes doing chores. How can you motivate your kids without screaming?

  • Have a family meeting to hash out who is responsible for which chores.
  • Offer prizes or cash based to each child for completing a list of weekly chores.
  • Create a “Family Chore List” where family members sign up for chores, but make sure everyone shares.

In order to organize papers and documents properly, what should every individual or family have?

  • a safe-deposit box
  • a designated individual to keep the files properly organized
  • a set time once a month to sit together and review any bank statements

What should you note on a detailed list that you keep in your files at home?

  • account and telephone numbers of all utilities with which you do business
  • your lawyer, your doctor, your dentist and your pediatrician
  • your credit and debit cards

Where should you keep a detailed list of your valuables along with a room-by-room video tape?

  • File these items with your bills and papers at home.
  • You will want to place these items in your safe-deposit box.
  • It is best to do both of the above answers.

What is a good idea for every family to implement in their home to help keep them organized in any situation?

  • A fire escape plan and an emergency meeting spot outside the home.
  • A message whiteboard on a wall so busy members can let others know where they are.
  • Both of the above.

Where should you keep your will?

  • File it with your papers at home.
  • Keep it locked in your office at work.
  • Put it in a safe-deposit box.

Where should you file your personal papers such as birth certificates?

  • File it with your papers at home.
  • Keep them locked in your office at work.
  • Put them in a safe-deposit box.