January 22, 2007
If mail or paperwork is taking over your life, from one of my heroines, Hellen Buttigieg, comes the RAFT concept. RAFT stands Read, Act, File, Toss. Scrutinize any piece of paper, junk mail, card or letter that piles up on your desk, bed or kitchen table and place it in boxes or a letter file that is labeled with those four words.
The Read pile needs to be read for information or work. The Act paperwork needs to be acted on immediately and then either filed or tossed. The File category is for important information that needs to be filed such as tax forms or pay stubs. A filing rule of thumb is to keep tax forms for seven years after the year they are filed. Keep important things such as mortgage paperwork or credit reports indefinately. Credit card and bank statements should be shredded after they have been cleared from your accounts. And the Toss category is a given, get rid of it if it is not important. Any personal information should be shredded.
Use the RAFT concept anytime you get a pile of mail or paperwork and that pile will disappear.