Organizing Paperwork

Organizing Paperwork

Good grief! My waste cans are over-flowing and my office is a mess.

I thought computers were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we use and create a clutter-free work environment!

There’s enough paper in piles on my desk to reach around the world. How can I dig out of this chaos?

Often when you decide you’ve just got to do something about the mess, you wind up moving papers from one pile to the other.

Your office may look a little neater after you’re done, but the problem is not solved.

Mrs Clean has some paper organizing tips to help you dig yourself out of the mess.

The solution is ORGANIZATION!

Sort By Category:

To get started, we need to do an initial sort by category for the documents you want to keep. So grab another piece of paper …. and write down five broad categories of subjects you usually address in your office.

Try to limit the list to five or so topics.

Perhaps you will start with “Personal,” then “Finances,” then “Medical,” etc.

Begin sorting through your papers and placing similar subjects in one pile, following your list.

Label some folders according to subject, then place the papers in the appropriate file, according to your categories you have assigned.

Shred Or Recycle Useless Papers:

Recycle papers you no longer need if they don’t have personal or confidential information on them.

It may take some time to go through those precious papers but, as you do, you will see how much is duplication, unnecessary, out-of-date, and just plain trash.

If there’s personal information such as financial documents on some of those sheets you are discarding, be sure to shred them!

If you don’t have a shredder, buy one. If you are sorting through papers at home and don’t want to buy a shredder, the next best thing is to put them in a compost pile. it’s highly unlikely an identity thief will go through the compost for your personal information!

Sort By Priority:

You may have five or six piles of papers now. Some of these you will want to access frequently, some not as much.

Decide which are your priorities and put the categories that you use most often closer to you.

Use file caddies to keep the files upright on your desk rather than laying the folders flat. It’s easier to see the file labels when they are upright.

File Your Documents:

There are many options available for storing or containing your important data.

Browse through an office supply store; visualize the various filing systems as if you had them in your office.

If you opt for fie cabinets, consider using color coded folders. Coding helps reduce the chance that papers will be filed in the wrong place (i.e. – green: financial records; blue: medical records, etc.).

Storage systems come in many sizes, shapes and composition. Old standbys are the metal filing cabinets with Manila folders but the cabinets now come in modern colors and finishes with smooth glide drawers.

There are also attractive plastic stacking boxes, a variety of desk and drawer organizers, and the old standby, corrugated bank storage boxes.

Keeping Your Papers Organized:

It’s easy to get lazy when it comes to paperwork. Don’t fall into the trap!

Don’t let the papers pile up again. Before closing the door at the end of the day, take 15 minutes to clean up your desk and put everything away.

Starting your day with a clean, organized desk means you can resume where you left off the day before – without having to wonder, “Now, where did I put that paper??”