Did you see my column on going paperless for back to school? If you are thinking about tackling your own paper-clutter problem, I’d like to offer a suggestion that might just push you into action: AboutOne.com.
This website is a complete home organizer. It lets you keep track of health care providers, home inventory, car repairs, schedules, and all that paper that collects around the house. But more than giving you a place to stash that paper, it guides you through organizing it and thereby yourself and your family.
For example, this morning I took the cat to the vet. My vet always hands me a stack of papers, which I promptly lose. I have enough trouble keeping track of the health records for myself and kids. But this time, I ran them through the scanner when I got home from the vet, created an entry in AboutOne.com for the cat, and attached the scans to it. So if I ever need to prove the cat had his rabies shots, I know just where to find that paperwork without calling the vet. If I ever get around to it, I could add the contents of the file I have somewhere with all the previous papers I managed not to lose but even this little bit of organization is better than nothing.
AboutOne takes the idea of organization a little further, though, by also giving you a place to stash memories. Did you snap a photo of your kids first day of school? Create an entry for that. And, as the years pass, you will have a created a chart of each of those first days.
It takes the same ad hoc approach to creating a home inventory. When you think of it, snap a photo of your car, computer, camera, or jewelry and stash it at AboutOne with a little pertinent information. It might not be a perfect home inventory – not yet anyway. But it’s better than putting the task off.
Getting organized is a big job. But the goal of AboutOne is to get you started, let you use the tools you have – your cell phone, a scanner maybe -- to get the ball rolling. It also turns the task into a game. You earn badges for every aspect of your life you organize.
There are apps for every kind of cell phone and you can access your account from any Web-connected device so you can organize from wherever you are. You don’t have to start at the beginning of time to get your family organized, you just have to start.