I have been a member for about 4 years and your system has transformed my life. I have Aspergers Syndrome and with this comes severe organization problems. Some people with Aspergers are obsessionally tidy but I am the opposite. For me it is as if in the space in my brain where there ought to be an categorizing place there is a blank space. I know this is a part of my condition, but sometimes it is so hard. There are many things I have had to learn along life’s path, where others pick things up almost magically I have had to get from books. I am so grateful to you, I wish I could meet you in person to hug you, for without you my home and my life would still be a mess.
I have one remaining mountain to climb, and that is one of paperwork. I cannot seem to apply your system to this mountain. Perhaps it needs a different system? My problem with paperwork goes back years, and I am ashamed to admit I have been sacked from jobs because of this problem. It is so painful and so humiliating that It is only now, after I have had some success in the house, that I can admit to this particular struggle. My husband tries to help me, however he is BO when it comes to paper and is able to fling and sort without having to think about it. It is as if I only have one category in my head – ‘all paperwork goes here’ and there it sits, in a huge box, in the middle of my guest room, getting bigger and bigger, making me feel sooo stupid. I read your categories of paperwork essay, but I am ashamed to say I do not understand it. I was hoping to maybe understand it if I read it a few more times, or left it to sink into my head a while, but it is no clearer to me. I know that most other flybabies would have found it invaluable, so I know it isn’t you, your ideas and essays are always fantastic, the problem is with me and my brain.
I think I need the paperwork essay broken down into even smaller babysteps, perhaps tiny weeny babysteps? A tiny, teeny task at a time? I know you have hardly any time to reply individually to people, with individual special needs, but maybe you know of a website that can help me, or have some ideas as to where I can start? If I was given a list of very small tasks to do that did not require massive processing eg “divide paper into pile A and pile B. Next put a pile A into box A”. Something a very small child would understand. (That is the level I am working at.) So it can’t be, eg ‘stuff to chuck’ and ‘stuff to keep!!’
My son has Aspergers too, he is only 8 and has the same problem. His room is covered in paper. I am desperately trying to help him but I can’t. I have been trying not to cry about it.!!!
Many thanks for reading this, and God bless you for the fantastic work you do
Hopeful Flybaby xx
Tell me where the paper comes from.
Make a list.
HOPEFUL FLYBABY HERE:
FLYLADY HERE; I WILL BE ANSWERING BELOW EACH ITEM
Thank you so much for replying!
I seem to have two kinds of paperwork, the stuff which comes in the door, and the stuff I produce myself. I hate all the stuff which comes through the door!!
The Stuff that comes in the Door
From the bank
statements, adverts, information, advice of changes to mortgage, letters, mortgage insurance & household insurance
Adverts go in the trash
Advice of changes to mortgage; trash if you didn’t act on them, if you did goes into your documents folder
letter; from bank on your mortgages should be put in the current year or last year folder.
Insurance policies need to be kept in the Family Documents folder
From the utilities
bills, information, adverts, offers
Information is usually trash
Adverts is trash
Offers is trash
bills, reminders, offers, money off vouchers, adverts, letters, statements of accounts
Reminders are trash
Offers are trash; shred them or burn in your fire place
Money off vouchers. no clue but they are probably are dated and have expired.
Letters; letters from credit card companies are just wanting you to get more credit cards; dispose of them carefully in the shredder or fireplace for kindling
I know to toss these now
Children’s school paper
letters, information, homework, adverts, newsletters, lovely drawings & craft work from the children
Information; read and process.
Homework; if it has not been done then it is trash or contact teacher to see what to do.
Adverts are always TRASH until you get a handle on the paper clutter
Newsletters can be trashed except for the latest one and put it on your bulletin board or refrigerator
Lovely Drawings & Crafts. Collect them for a week and then allow your child to pick his favorite for the scrapbook and send the rest to the grandparents. Crafts take a picture of them. If you have a bunch of them just put them in a box for now. Set up the weekly system by making a place for your child to put them when he comes home.
Autism & Aspergers societies
information, reams of it
– eg child benefit, child tax credit, lots and lots of forms and statements and official looking documentation and information and leaflets
these are usually small bits eg statement of tax over the year
again, small and manageable
Registration forms for teachers
both my husband and I are registered teachers, and we keep copies of our teacher status numbers, national insurance, criminal checks
– there are 4 of us in the family. My husband and youngest son only have a few bits eg some vaccine certificates, but my older son with Aspergers has lots of medical reports and information, letters from schools, assessments, etc. I have many pieces of paper related to my health, as I have had lots of operations, so hospital information, letters from doctors and specialists, information about operations and medical conditions, also many bits of paper to do with my teeth and the associated bills!
Careers allowance and disability allowance
I am a registered career for my son who gets the allowance, there are lots of bits of paper for this, statements of disability, photocopies of documents, letters from social security, forms and information
birth, marriage, vaccine, exams & qualifications etc
Marriage Certificates -Family Documents Folder
Vaccine records- Family Documents Folders
Exams- Not certain what those are; if they have to do with your work then make a folder for your job.
– for stuff we have bought
– for products
Information on the products
– we have bought eg manuals
solicitors letters, deeds, plans, certificates, letters from all sorts eg estate agents, legal documents
MOTs, insurance, tax, registration forms, information on insurance
Insurance- in Family Documents folder and a proof of Insurance in your car.
Tax -property taxes that are unpaid should be put with your To Pay Bills. When paid put in your Current year tax folder
Registration is supposed to be kept in your car.
information on Insurance; if it is a supplement to your policy then put it with the policy in the Family Documents Folder
information on past jobs and assessments in employment eg tests passed, courses attended
spare cheque books, credit cards, post office bonds, savings books
Letters, cards, e-mails
from family and friends
useful handouts from courses, they are like reference books if I want to go back and read them, notes I have made on course
things like postcards or little things that go into our yearly family memory book
I am sure there is a bit more, but without going through the boxes I can’t remember
Stuff I Produce
I work part time as a writer/proofreader, and have kept published copies of my work, but also letters from the publisher, copies of cheques received, statements of earnings, photocopies of work in progress, lists of contacts
Letters from publishers can be kept. It is according to what they say. If it is just a statement of earning then it should go in your current tax records. If it is from last year then put it in your Tax 2013 folder.
Lists of Contacts need to be kept in your computer and in a 3 x 5 card file box or address book in your Control Journal
I write lots of things, poems, short stories, ideas, educational information, ideas for stories, diaries (from my youth and now), reams of stuff
Works in progress need to be kept in a notebook or a computer file. I have relieved myself of many pieces of paper by only using a spiral notebook to take notes and write down ideas.
I run an educational website and write and illustrate worksheets, articles and schemes of work, I keep hard copies of the printables and illustrations and any correspondence related to it, also reference material
there is so much paperwork related to this, certificates, documents, information about family history, letters, photos, notes, leaflets from family history society, website addresses, files, contacts, maps, books etc, all of it different sizes and shapes so it cant be kept in one place together
I am a portrait artist, I have paintings, drawings, art equipment, letters to and from clients, art society newsletters and information, reference material and books, it feels never-ending
I get great ideas and make mini-projects eg holiday files, inventions (complete with patent applications)
Holiday files and projects need to be kept in folder or a bin. I really don’t know what this is.
leaflets and information and money-off vouchers on holidays and fun things to do for the family
I have taught in the past and made my own resources eg worksheets, booklets, maths resources (eg fraction pizzas), there is so much stuff I can hardly bear to throw away in case I need it again, I have limited myself to my favourite subject now, Mathematics, and thrown out all the literacy and other subjects
I teach my older son part-time in Maths, he is 6 years ahead of his age and needs special provision, so I have many resource books and materials, also files and folders of his work, documented evidence of ability eg tests & results, letters from school and other agencies to do with this side of his education
again, without going into the boxes I cant remember what more stuff there is.
It is amazing how that feels actually writing it down! You knew, didn’t you, that getting it out of my head would help me to see it more clearly.
One thing I see is how much stuff I have and that it is stressing me to fit it all into the small space I have.
Another thing I see is that the two sides of Aspergers in me intense creativity (in many Aspergers the creative force is so strong, as strong as the need to breathe), and problems with organization, are in conflict with each other. If only I had a secretary.
My family really love me and do not complain about the stuff they understand me and my husband tries to help, but he cant organize my stuff, he does not have time nor does he know what half of it is! His idea of organizing it, is to commit it to memory and then throw it. I have been wondering why I have been unable to do this! I have come up with two reasons.
1. I have a brain which absorbs facts in an unorganized way. I cannot organize my thinking. If I read information, I am unable to identify the main points, I focus on details. This is part of Aspergers. So instead of throwing away information I keep it, so that I don’t miss important stuff. I would be scared to miss the stuff I was supposed to know. When I have tried to take notes it takes me so long. I have to read things many times to absorb information properly. And even then I don’t know which bits are important unless someone tells me. I try to memories all the information. My older son can memories whole books if he listens them on tape a couple of times. Then he can repeat them verbatim. It really is wild!
2. I have intense emotional attachment to my creations. It feels like I have given birth to them! Thus to ask me to throw any away would be like asking me to give away my children! I cant explain why I feel this way. I know that my poems etc are not people. I don’t treat them with more respect than my family, indeed I pour so much love on my family they never feel that they are less important than what I do. But my creations seem to take on a life of their own, they are like the little people in my world. I know a lot of famous artists and writers and inventors are like this I read about them. I never realized I am like that too. It is impossible for me to throw away a painting or piece of writing, it would be like committing murder or abandonment.
So dear dear FlyLady, if you have any way around this, I would be so grateful. I have tried to organize the stuff into files but I can never decide where it is all to go, so I have several different filing systems, and none of them functioning. I forget the categories and cant find stuff once its filed.
May God bless you richly today. If you cant come up with a solution for me for the above, I will not be angry with you, you have helped our family so much already. But your comments are so valuable to me, and you do see things that I cant, perhaps you will spot something I didn’t and that will be the light that leads me out of this mess.
Much love from your grateful, hopeful Flybaby xx
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