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mollykeeton

Kl23, you are no doubt a unique voice, but I am really glad you shared your perspective. I will never be able to do it as extremely as you, but I am inspired nonetheless!


I’ve avoided going totally paperless with bills because I was afraid I’d lose track of things - i.e. not remembering to pay them on time if not sitting on my desk as a reminder or wanting to have them to go back to when I am trying to budget for the next year. But hey - lightbulb moment - I can create a folder in my inbox for paid bills. So I’ll know they’ve been paid when no longer in my inbox and they’ll be accessible if I need to check them. Not revolutionary but helpful, so thank you! And then maybe I’ll just keep moving in that direction.


And I hear you on working from a car during the pandemic. I spent the first 15 months working from my car in my garage!

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jmpjmp

Scanning and filing and hiding stuff away in drawers and pretty boxes all takes time too. The world is not as simple as some of these commenters suggest, at least my world isn't. I am very efficient and neat, but I am working on many projects at once, from different parts of my life, and it is impossible to do them all without physical traces. I tried pretty boxes for a while but only ended up forgetting about what was there, sometimes to my regret. In my opinion, a real office (as opposed to a table where one pays a few bills that aren't already on autopay, is going to have some piles in view. Keep them as neat as you can, but don't stress over having everything out of sight. You still have to do this work. Be grateful that you are being of service in so many ways. On the other hand, keep your other rooms "picked up" continually and enjoy the "joy" of zen there.

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kl23

@mollykeeton your diplomacy is inspiring to me.
I had to learn to go paperless with bills at work, because the credit card police constantly threaten to take away my credit card if I don't. We have all electronic banking. And every last document must have 1) a copy of a permission letter from the beginning of the fiscal year telling me what kinds of things I can buy -or- a copy of an email saying I can buy something unusual, 2) a form that says I looked for the item from a "preferred source" but couldn't find it so I am buying it from somewhere else, 3) a quote or estimate from the vendor, 4) a packing slip with the delivery date and the name of the person who received it for me or a note saying why nobody saw me receive it (an out developed during the pandemic but has lingered because so has teleworking for our secretaries). All this has to be uploaded to the banking site for every last transaction. The only way to keep it all straight was to create a computer folder for each transaction. AND at work we have to keep paper backups of every transaction's paper. So I do have a file folder for each year. We're supposed to be able to throw them away after a few years, but I haven't been in my office much...
I also have paper records from my predecessors who worked on the same project I do since 1910. I have scanned some of those for a records database and have transcribed some into Excell for annual use. But I can't throw away those treasures. So they are in file cabinets too. So I'll admit to having an actual office at work. And I'll admit it's a mess. But it is being whittled down to just the treasures, and those will be archived before I leave.
I haven't bothered to scan all my bills at home; I just throw them away when they are paid every Saturday. I don't think the IRS will let us do that for tax documents, so everyone needs a few file cabinets or boxes right? I've seen some decorative ones. The three below looked nice to me, like a console or dresser. And they could fit in anywhere, in any room, and not have to be in an "office". Then there's the old law office style of paper-collecting over time for each case, where each case's papers, or each year's tax papers go in a box that sits on a shelf. I can't find an example online. At work, mine are all Coca Cola red, one of my favorite colors.
At home, I have a woven open in-basket for incoming mail I take care of every Saturday. I have a woven taller basket with a hinged lid for my checkbook, stamps, return-address inked stamp, tiny stapler, a box of business-sized envelopes, and a few other things. Both sit in the dining room in camouflage. I handle bills on our big dining room table. My laptop sits on a shelf of an occasional table hidden by adjacent seating. My printer is upstairs, because I rarely use it. And I've seen printers small enough to put in a large purse (sales people). That's why I don't feel I "need" a home "office"... I'm spread out over the house and everything is out of the way but accessible.
My husband is retired but still wants an office. I think it's all in his head. But I love him so he's keeping his home office. And anyone who wants an office should have one. I just want to point out that life is possible without one. And there are a lot of possibilities in-between.

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