Scraps of paper everywhere? Not sure where your bills are? What about your kid’s papers to return to school? Mail on every surface? These are the challenges faced by those with ADHD in organizing paperwork. Organize your papers with a Command Center.
This custom creation pulling together several solutions for paper can make finding and accessing your papers super easy. Bulletin boards, wall calendars, and wall pockets may be the perfect spot for you to post your paper and get organized. Having components that suit your organizing needs create slots for specific categories of papers and make it easy to find things.
Establishing your Command Center system
A command center is the strategy spot for all incoming and actionable papers. It is best placed at the entry where your mail comes in the house or in the kitchen. That is the organic spot where paper tends to accumulate.
Here are some tools and strategies to establish your Command Center. These integrate a variety of resources including a bulletin board, wall calendar, and wall pockets.
- Your bulletin board is a visual reminder of activities coming up. It is a place to post important papers, schedules, invitations, announcements, and inspirational quotes. As papers come in, simply pin the most important papers that you won’t want to lose to your board to keep track of them. If an invitation or announcement arrives, keep it if it has directions, a gift registry, or a reminder. Be sure to add this date to your wall calendar as well, since duplication can help too. Don’t overcrowd your bulletin board as a clean, neat appearance will serve your purposes better. Edit what is on your board regularly to keep up to date.
- Use 2 dry-erase month-at-a-glance calendars on your wall. We always have dates that are more than one month away. Having 2 calendars means that you can keep up to date on activities. Keep a handy container of different colored dry-erase markers to use for different activities or family members. Take a photo of your calendars to keep with you when you schedule new dates.
- Wall pockets are strategic vertical storage to keep up with paper. Have one container for each family member. Have one container for receipts. Have one container for resources like directories.
- A dry-erase board lets you make notes, lists, and checklists. It is an easy way to create reminders for you and your family.
- A desktop sorter command station is another way to keep all your papers together too. Use hanging files with tabs on them, labeled To Do, To Pay, To File, Receipts, and Taxes. You can add a hanging file for each family member too. This compact solution keeps your bills and papers together.
- A basket or bin for mail as it enters the house. This is where paper collects until processed into the system. Use an attractive container that holds ample but not too much paper.
- Be sure to style your space. Having colors that match the walls or simply black or white makes for a more serene space. You can also use ornamental, retro items, baskets or crates for your system.
Routines that reinforce your use of your Command Center
A Command Center integrates and coordinates a space for every kind of paper, as well as a specific spot for unprocessed mail. Establish a five-minute daily or once-a-week weekly routine to bring in the mail and sort it into the command center. Have a recycle bin and shred station at this spot to remove any junk mail. By keeping consistent with eliminating extra paper, you will be more in control of important information that arrives by mail. Remember, this is a coordinated effort with your partner in working through the paperwork.
- Where does the paper go next? That is your filing system! Papers that you will refer to or archive are kept in your filing area.
- What do you do with the actionable paper? That’s addressed during your weekly planning time when you pay bills, add dates to your calendar, and add tasks to your task list.
Overall you are creating a workflow that includes a system and routines for taking the paper from when it arrives, to review, prioritize and act on the necessary information in your life. This will remove a lot of stress and help you find what you need when you need it.