Here are tips to get you started on sorting through piles of paper:
Useful supplies to collect right before starting:
- Bag or box for papers that can be recycled
- Bag or box for papers that will be shredded
- Notebook and pen
- Empty file box (some type of container) and empty hang files & file folders
- Sharpie marker and post it notes
Let’s start! Grab a pile of paper and start sorting. Everyone’s paper piles and file systems are unique. You will use the post-it notes & sharpie to create temporary file labels for EACH of the categories that you uncover. You will likely have some of the following categories: insurance, school papers, read, to do, medical bills, recipes, manuals, receipts, coupons, work papers…
Here is an example of a temporary file system: (Category written on the opposite end of the sticky, allowing the sticky part to affix to the inside of the hang file.)
Undoubtedly, as you move through you will uncover “things to do/take care of.” Make note of these “things to do” on a notepad, file in “to do” and keep moving. Try not to get distracted by going to take care of that thing now.
Keep moving through the piles and make a file for each topic area. You may choose to use manilla file folders along with the hang files. The most important actions in sorting through paper is to corral like papers together, give them a home (file), and label it so that you can find it later!
Once you have sorted through ALL your paper. Then figure out where your hang files/folders are going to live. You may have a home office, kitchen nook, basement storage area…put files that you touch daily, weekly, monthly near where you take care of paper like activities. Papers that you never refer to, or rarely, like insurance papers, manuals, financial statements…put these in a file box or cabinet in the basement, closet, or somewhere out of the mix of the papers you need to refer to regularly.
Other helpful ideas:
- put your coupons in a clear plastic envelope and keep them in the car.
- develop a recipe binder, put recipes in clear plastic sleeves and organize binder by topic.
- keep important receipts in a file, drawer, envelope- labeled
You have done it! You have tackled your paper! Now you will be able to find things and you will be less stressed.
Contact Lynne Poulton, Wholly Organized! LLC 330.858.5886