For this step, you will need the following.
- A very large flat surface (if you dining room table is not big enough, use the floor)
- Your Coupon Binder, with at least 1 page for each category
- Large Brown Paper Bag for trash
First, open your binder and remove all your baseball sleeves (which should already have your categories cards inserted, if you do not have the category cards, go to Step 1) being careful to keep them in the correct order. Set your binder aside, we will not need it till we are all done. Notice that each sleeve has 3 columns. Your category cards should be in the top of column 3. When you first start, you will only have 1 page for each category, but as you add coupons, you can easily add additional pages to any category. For additional pages, you do not need a category card, just put them behind the category page. In my binder, some categories have 6 pages, and others have only 1.
Starting with the bottom of your categories and the top right side of your large surface place your last category (Toiletries Shampoo / Hair) on the table. Next, place the next category group (Toiletries Soaps, Body Wash, Facial Cleaners) overlapping the first 2 columns of the Shampoo page. At this point, you should see 4 total columns. 3 Columns from the Soaps category, and only the third column of the hair care category. Moving left on the table and overlapping the pages so that only the category columns show continue until all categories are laid out in a single row. It is important to keep them all in one row, this will save you time in the upcoming steps.
Finally! We are ready to start clipping. Have your criss-cross stack ready. Take the first group of pages from the top of your stack and start clipping. (For this you want large paper scissors, attempting to clip coupons with small scissors is much more time consuming and makes you prone to paper cuts). I clip and keep the different coupons separate from each other. We don’t want to clip into a big pile we will have to sort through, so I kinds move around the table as I clip and let them fall into their own spot. Remember to check the other side of the pages before you throw them away. After I have a good collection of clipped coupons surrounding me, I stop clipping and start sorting.
To sort, place the coupons on the table in a column under the sleeves. This step is what makes this system the big time saver. Be mindful to place your coupons directly below their correct category. Some of your columns will get quite long, you can overlap coupons in the same category, being sure not to overlap neighboring category coupons. I leave about 1/3 of each different coupon showing in the column. If I have a super long coupon, I lay it on top of all the ones I already have in that column.
Once you have clipped all your coupons, and your criss-cross stack is completely gone you are ready for Step 5. Populating your book.