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Quick Tips To Organize Paperwork At Home

March 21, 2013

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Is paperwork taking over your life? Is it making a mess of your home?

Organize it all in a jiffy with these quick DIY tips and slay that paperwork dragon once and for all.

Because when you clear your desk, you clear your mind.

Full Trash Can

I recently received a comment asking if I had any good ideas for dealing with the mail, the bills, lists, school notices and more. 

Paperwork is a huge monster. 

It clutters your space and up your mind, as well.

 It's 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.

So what do you do about it? 

How To Quickly Organize Paperwork

Honestly, dealing with the constant barrage of paperwork isn't as difficult as many people perceive it to be.

However, once it starts to pile up, it becomes a monster that feeds on itself. With a few very simple tactics, it can be easily managed.

And you don't need a lot of money, time or space to do it.

Cottage Style Desk Area

1. The best way to start, is to get it out of your sight.

Step one requires you to tuck those papers away, in an organized fashion, until you have the time to deal with the..

Papers in a pile are a major cause of stress. If you can remove it from your field of vision, in an organized manner, you can begin to relax.

People tend to overthink this part of the task.

There are many expensive and elaborate ways to do it, but they're 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're tucked away in the laundry room out of sight, until we're 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's a constant stream of mail, work and kids’ stuff to deal with every day.

In order to stay organized, split it into distinct piles and get it out of sight until you have the time to tackle it.

2. Folders are your best friend.

I like folders, because they're inexpensive and easy to store.

Even in this tiny cottage, there's room for folders. 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.

I have colored folders in a desk drawer, one for each subgroup...bills, kids, work, etc.  

I have another folder, a red one, so it really stand out, that holds any paper, from any subgroup, that needs to be dealt with immediately.

Even in this tiny cottage, there's room for folders. 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.

See. Simple.

3. Baskets work well, too.

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 and the dollar store has tons of them, too. 

They also have storage boxes, but remember the goal is to get rid of the papers you don't need, so if you're keeping them in boxes, it probably means you're holding on too much.

4. Stay away from large filing systems.

I'm not partial to filing systems.

Let's face it, in today's digital world, there are very few things that you can't access or store online. And I suggest when at all possible, you do just that.

Or course, there are tax papers or receipts, budget sheets, important documents that you need to hold onto. I get it. 

But remember, filing takes time and that’s why all those papers are on your desk in the first place.

So the biggest tip I have is ditch what you can.

Which leads me to my best tip of all...

How To Organize Paperwork At Home Graphic

5. When in doubt, throw it out.

Or scan it and keep it in a folder on your computer.

Those others? The ones you really can't toss? Well those you put into a neat file cabinet perhaps, but a small one.

A hanging file frame and a few file folders are cheap and tuck neatly into a deep desk or vanity drawer.

The bigger cabinet you have, the more you'll save. Trust me.

And most importantly 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!
Kim Signature

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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!!