Slaying the Paperwork Dragon

March 21, 2013

I recently received a comment asking if I had any good ideas for dealing with paperwork. Paperwork is a huge monster.  It clutters your space and it clutters up your mind as well.  It is hard to relax and find solace in your surroundings when there is a perpetual “to do” pile strewn about, nagging at you from the corner.  

From a decorating standpoint it’s unsightly and from a mental health perspective it’s a constant drain.

The best way to deal with it is to get it out of your sight.  Tuck it away, in an organized fashion, until you have the time to deal with it.  People tend to over think this task.  There are many expensive and elaborate ways to do this, but they are unnecessary.  If you are going to invest in an organizational system that you have to save up for or takes hours to set up, you are never going to do it. 

The key is to keep it simple.  I like to equate it with laundry.  I have three bins, towels, whites and darks.  They are tucked away in the laundry room out of sight, until we are all so desperate for clothes, I need to go down there and confront it…paperwork is no different. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that paperwork, like laundry, is truly never ending. There is a constant stream of mail, work and kids’ stuff to deal with everyday.  In order to stay organized, split it into distinct piles and get it out of sight until you have the time to tackle it.  

I have colored folders in a desk drawer, one for each subgroup...bills, kids, work.  I have another folder- it’s red- that folder holds any paper, from any subgroup, that needs to be dealt with immediately.  I like folders, because they are cheap, they fit in my shallow desk drawer and when they start to get too fat to shut the drawer, I know that I have to attend to what’s inside. 

If you don’t like folders or your paperwork load is too large for them, get baskets.  Ikea has the greatest selection of pretty ones for super low prices.  They also have storage boxes and filing systems, although I am not partial to filing systems for this purpose.  Filing takes time and that’s why all those papers are on your desk in the first place.  

You just need a place to quickly throw the envelopes and permission slips until you can find the time to go through them…and most importantly, I refer back to my earlier post, Independent Interiors, when I say, do what works for you. 

Remember, in case I haven’t said it enough, the goal here is to get them organized and out of your sight…clear your desk and you clear your mind!

I hope this helps!  

Do you have any great paperwork tips?

Please share!!

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  1. Hmmm, what makes me think you had to create that overflowing basket!! LOL. Yes, a system is what I need, have to figure out which one....
    In the meantime, junk mail senders, STOP sending me papers!!

    1. Ha! Yes, I may have taken some artistic license with the garbage pail today, but trust me, there are many days that it does look just like that...I must be on that same junk mail list!!


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