If you need help dealing with the paper in your home, this review of The Paper Solution book is for you. My husband and I used the Konmari method to declutter our home several years ago but dealing with paperwork was still an issue for us. The Sunday Basket, a key component of The Paper Solution, helped me get a handle on our day-to-day papers.
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Why I Didn’t Want to Read The Paper Solution
After writing The Paper Solution, Lisa Woodruff removed her Sunday Basket podcast from the Internet. As a Sunday Basket fan, I was disappointed with this decision. I didn’t like the idea that someone needed to buy the book to learn all about the Sunday Basket when that information had been free.
In addition, I had previously purchased the Kindle version of one of Lisa Woodruff’s other books called The Mindset of Organization. Unfortunately, I never finished that book due to poor writing.
Why I Chose to Read The Paper Solution Anyway
Despite my misgivings about The Paper Solution, I decided to read the book to ensure that my review of the Sunday Basket remained thorough and current. I chose to purchase the Kindle edition of the book to save both money and space.
I was pleased to find that The Paper Solution was released by a well-known publishing house and lists a co-author on the copyright page. The difference in the quality of writing and content between The Paper Solution and The Mindset of Organization is noticeable.
What Topics Are Covered in The Paper Solution?
Part 1: We Are Drowning in Paper
In part one of The Paper Solution, Lisa describes our paper problem. These chapters serve to whet the appetite for a better way to handle paper. If you’d rather just skip ahead to the solution, then move directly to part two.
Part 2: How Do I Get Started?
We spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect calendar or make the perfect binder and then wonder why they do not “work” for us. It is the act of planning that makes the calendar and Sunday Basket work.Lisa Woodruff – The Paper Solution
Part two of The Paper Solution was the make-or-break section of the book for me. I wanted to see if buying this book was sufficient to fully understand the Sunday Basket method now that the free podcast is no longer available. To my relief, the book did a thorough job of laying out the method.
Lisa’s expertise in handling paper shines in part two of the book. Whether you have a single pile of paper to deal with or several filing cabinets filled to the brim, this method can work for you. You’ll learn how to sort through your existing paperwork, how to set up and customize your Sunday Basket, and how to optimize your calendar.
Part 3: Ditch the Filing Cabinet
What good is a filing system that isn’t portable and accessible in times of great need?Lisa Woodruff – The Paper Solution
The Sunday Basket is only for active papers, but we still need to store other papers for quick reference. Part three of The Paper Solution explains why we should switch from filing cabinets to binders for this storage. The chapters that follow this explanation provide insight into the six types of binders that Lisa uses in her home.
At this point in the book, you may begin to wonder if you are now strictly listening to a sales pitch for the binder systems sold by Organize365. Overall, I think Lisa tows that line fairly well. She never requires that you buy her binders, and she provides enough information about the purpose of each binder for you to create your own.
Several months after setting up my Sunday Basket, I did go ahead and purchase several binders from Organize365. Despite their high cost, I wanted to feel in better control of those papers that I only need to reference on occasion. Reading through part three of The Paper Solution gave me a better understanding of the purpose of the binders.
Note: If you choose to purchase these binders from Organize365, they include several worksheets mentioned below that are not included in The Paper Solution book.
Financial Organizing Binder
The purpose of the financial organizing binder is to store personal, financial, auto, insurance, and retirement paperwork.
- Personal Use: a reference for someone who needs to help during a time of injury or illness
- Settling an Estate: a reference for a power of attorney or executor of an estate
Because we live debt-free and use an online budgeting tool called YNAB, I don’t use all the worksheets in this binder. I’m also wary of writing down account information, a hesitancy which Lisa addresses in the book. It is a great place to keep all of our financial documents in one location.
I do plan to go over the estate planning worksheets with my parents to ensure that everything is in order. Someday I may be tasked with settling their estate.
Medical Organizing Binder
The medical organizing binder holds all the medical information for a single individual who may require a caregiver. This binder keeps important information about medical visits, medications, lab results, etc. organized for quick, portable reference.
I’m trying to make a single binder work for my entire family, but this is contrary to its design. Many of the included worksheets, while thorough, do not currently apply to our family.
Household Reference Binder
The household reference binder stores all paperwork needed when owning and maintaining a house. This is the binder I’ve found easiest to use thus far. I had kept a similar binder and left it for the buyer when we sold our first home. As we continue to work on our fixer-upper, I’ll update this binder quite a bit in the years to come.
Household Operations Binder
The household operations binder encompasses all the day-to-day activities and special events for your household. This includes meal planning, cleaning, and event planning.
Thus far, I have struggled to use the household operations binder to its potential. However, the book clarified its purpose and provided more ideas for its use.
Part three of The Paper Solution also includes chapters on the School Memory Binder and the IEP Binder. I do not plan to use these particular binders at this time.
Are Binders Sold By Organize365 a Must?
No. Although the Organize365 binders come with worksheets that help with organization, you can create your own binders. The book provides enough detail to get started, and you can customize your binders according to your needs.
Part 4: How to Archive the Rest
Part four of The Paper Solution covers the archival of long-term paperwork that doesn’t belong in a binder. This includes personal paperwork like birth certificates and tax returns. Lisa also delves into digital solutions for paperwork, but that chapter is more of an overview than a complete tutorial.
Should You Read The Paper Solution?
Whether you have a few paper piles in your home or overflowing filing cabinets, The Paper Solution provides actionable methods that work. The Sunday Basket made a huge difference for me, and I much prefer binders to filing cabinets for quick reference and portability.