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Organize Your Home Office: Managing All of the Paper

source: mrmanc
source: mrmanc

There is no doubt that the number one source of clutter for most home offices comes from paper. Papers that need action. Papers that need to be filed. Papers that need to be sent. Papers that need to be shredded.

Although we’ll save file systems for another week – because I have more to share than I could possibly include in this one little post – today we’re going to talk about have a workflow system for your paper so that each piece of paper has a place as soon as it comes into your office. While there may be a few people who like having their desks covered in scattered papers, I think it’s safe to say that those papers are the number one source of frustration for most people.

So what’s the solution?

Organize Those Piles

Having piles of paper to deal with is almost inevitable unless you have the time to take action on every piece of paper as soon as it comes across your desk. However, sorting that paper into easy-to-tackle piles not only declutters your space but also makes taking action easier and allows you to do it on your schedule.

Stacking Mesh Paper Trays
Stacking Mesh Paper Trays

I use paper trays for my piles, but you could also use a wall organizer to save space or colored file folders if you want to keep the piles out of site.

The key is determining which categories you need to simplify your system. We organize our papers into three main piles:

1. Records to be filed
2. Bills to be paid
3. Papers that need action

When I open my mail, I immediately sort the papers into these three trays so that when I’m ready to pay bills or sit down and take care of administrative tasks, everything is ready.

Your piles may not be the same as mine. You might need a “To be shredded” pile or you might separate the action pile into separate piles for you and your spouse. The names of the categories are not the keys to this system; having a system in place is.

Do you currently have a system in place for sorting paperwork? Is it working for you?