Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Set up a Household Action Center

Does junk mail, school papers, bills and other paper clutter pile up quickly and take over your counter tops and table top? Do you find yourself stacking and then stashing the piles out of sight when company comes over? Are you scrambling in the mornings to get the kids out of the house with everything that they need? Do you miss appointments because you forgot or pay bills late because you can't find them?

If you said yes to more than one of the above, a Household Action Center (HAC) may be the answer. This is the same system I use and teach my private clients. A well-organized HAC can help you to deal with activities, information, and papers that come into your home.

Your HAC should be set up in a central location, most often it is the kitchen-the hub of the home. I like to utilize a portable file box (shown in the picture to the right) but it could also be stationed in a desk or filing drawer. Supplies, such as envelopes, tape, stapler, pens and pencils, and the telephone, should be near by. Through your Household Action Center you can manage your mail, bill paying, calendar, events and projects.

A very important component of your information center will be a Tickler File, which consists of a dated accordion file (1-31 and January-December) and action files. Another important and very necessary component is a calendar or planner.

So, as paper and information come into your home, you must make decisions on each item. Use my 3T Plan™ for making decisions: Take Out, Take action (now or a future date), or To file. Things you need to act on will go into your action folders - labeled with the actions your need to take. If you have a paper that you need to act on at a specific date, put that paper in your tickler file behind the appropriate date or month.

Another useful tool is a household binder. This 3-ring binder can be used to keep regularly accessed information. Common things you would store in your household binder might be school calendars and directories, lunch menus, practice schedules, and frequently used telephone numbers. I like to keep action forms in mine.

Use your system on a regular basis. Get into the habit of consulting your Ticker File and calendar at the same time every day, preferably the night before or in the morning. You should be continually adding and taking out items. Setting up a Household Action Center will help you eliminate the piles and reduce the stress.
For more Works For Me Ideas, vist Rocks In My Dryer.


Creative Junkie said...

I do a method of this - I have a two tray black think from Staples that now holds all of our school and miscellaneous papers. It's amazing how much better my kitchen island looks now.

ConnieFoggles said...

I'm actually printing this out so I can go through it step by step. I've ended up paying bills late because I couldn't find them.

Arlice Nichole said...

I'm actually very proud of my wee little action center!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

I have paid bills late and I have so many papers around the house that have no place to go. I should try this. BTW-havent been by for awhile-How are you doing?

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