The happily ever after dining tableONCE upon a time, there was an invisible dining table.

It wasn’t really invisible, but it was so long since its family had seen it that they had almost forgotten it was there.

The reason no-one could see the table was that it was covered in a mound of paper.

The lady of the house who shall remain (ahem) nameless, had three children under four, a full-time job and a perpetual dearth of sleep.

Daycare notes, mail and catalogues were all placed on the table as they arrived.

And there they stayed because there was nowhere else to put them.

Then she read two books that changed her life: Sorted by Lissanne Oliver and Paperflow by MaryAnne Bennie and Brigitte Hinneberg.

The “lady” started with her desk at work and found, as she devised a strategy, that instead of needing paperflow she could go paperless.

Hard copy documents that needed to be kept were scanned and kept in folders on her computer desktop and the originals put in the recycling bin.

The desk is clear to this day, and old documents are quickly and easily found.

Emboldened by her success, it was time to rediscover the dining table.

Step one was was to label four washing baskets “bin”, “bills”, “receipts” and “miscellaneous”.

She grabbed a handful of papers and started tossing each piece into the baskets on the floor.

But how to prevent the mess building up again.

It was time for strategy. (See the box above centre.)

No more lost notes, mislaid prescriptions or unpaid bills.

As for the invisible dining table . . .

It was cleaned, polished and lived happily ever after at the centre of family life.

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