In this post, discover “do this, not that” tips to organize paper. These simple solutions can help you eliminate paper clutter, create storage for all of your office papers, and allow you to find what you need when you need it!
Do This, Not That: Tips to Organize Paper
I don’t know about you, but paper clutter is one of the biggest struggles in my home office. And it seems like each time I get on top of the paper piles, they multiply within minutes and my office is overrun. Again.
As I waged this battle with paper clutter, I realized that my habits (bad habits) and systems (or lack thereof) were primarily to blame for my ongoing fight with paper piles.
But the good news is that YOU can reap the rewards of my lessons learned and battle scars! 😉
These DIY tips, hacks and ideas will help you eliminate paper clutter and improve your home office and desk organization. Read on to learn these “do this, not that” tips to organize papers!
#1 NOT THAT: Use the Floor as Your Filing Cabinet
Is your floor covered with paper piles? Are you tired of tripping your way to your desk?
Stacking papers on the floor not only creates clutter, it’s also an inefficient system for paper management!
*Do This Instead: Create a Filing System That Works for You
Instead of stacking papers on the floor willy-nilly, create a filing that works for you by following these steps:
- Sort your papers into 4 categories: To Do, To File, To Read, and Trash/Recycle/Shred.
- Sort your To Do pile based on the next action the item requires.
- Create action files based on the next actions mentioned above; action files will help you organize, store, and manage papers related to your tasks.
- Establish a daily block where you process the items in your action files.
Get all of the details and a step-by-step guide for this process: How to Construct a Filing System That Works for You.
NOT THAT: Shove Receipts Into a Shoe Box or Scattered in Various Digital Formats
Having important tax documents like receipts shoved in a box or spread amongst various folders and formats creates clutter and makes tax time a daunting struggle. And let’s be honest, tax time is a big enough struggle without a mess of receipts!
*Do This Instead: Establish a Simple Monthly Bookkeeping Routine
I follow a simple, 4-step process for organizing receipts that has never let me down!
Each month, I:
- Round up your receipts, sort them by date, then number them
- Create an Excel file with categories to track all of your receipts
- Log receipts regularly
- Store receipts in one place
By completing these steps on a regular basis, my receipts are logged, organized, and stored, and I’m ready to go for tax time!
See how I organize and store business receipts: Organize Business Receipts in 4 Simple Steps.
Bookkeeping is not my jam, but I’ve found that establishing a simple monthly bookkeeping routine makes the chore (and tax time) less stressful and much more easily managed, too.
Get a step-by-step guide to my monthly bookkeeping routine here: A No-Nonsense Monthly Bookkeeping Routine.
NOT THAT: Scribble Notes on Random Bits of Paper
Ever wasted chunks of time searching for vital information that you KNOW you scribbled on a some piece of paper that you stuck somewhere?
Been there. Done that.
Time is precious, my friends, and as business owners/parents/students/full-time workers/home managers/chauffeurs/etc., we don’t have a minute to waste on scribbled notes or random bits of paper!
*Do This Instead: Track, Store, and Organize Information with a Master Task List or Trello
Instead of scribbling notes on random bits of paper here and there, create a system that you use every time.
Are you sensing a theme here? 🙂
I’ve found Trello to be a hugely helpful tool for this system! I’ve created master task lists, reference cards, and note cards to track, store, and organize information I need to keep handy.
The other thing I love about Trello is that there are infinite ways to personalize the tool and the aesthetics, so it’s effective and fun!
Learn more about the boards I use most frequently in Trello and snag templates to customize for your needs in this post: My Most Frequently Used Trello Boards.
NOT THAT: Stack Papers Randomly on Shelves
Stacking papers anywhere creates clutter, but squandering valuable home office shelf space with disorganized paper piles is no good. And just like the floor stacking method, it’s an inefficient system for paper management!
*Do This Instead: Organize Paper in 3-Ring Binders
Instead of wasting shelf space with disorganized paper piles, get those papers organized and stored effectively in easily accessed 3-ring binders (one of my favorite office organizing supplies)!
Check out my step-by-step process for organizing 3-ring binders in this post: How to Organize 3-Ring Binders.
And learn ways to organize your office with 3-ring binders in this post: 7 Ways to Organize Your Office with Binders.
Do This, Not That: Tips to Organize Paper
You don’t have to live with office paper clutter any longer! By following these “do this, not that” tips to organize paper, you can eliminate paper clutter, create storage for all of your office papers, and find what you need when you need it.
I recommend that you pick one tip and implement it. Stick with it until it becomes a habit or you can work with the system automatically, then choose another tip to enact. Soon you’ll wonder what happened to all of your office paper clutter!
If you enjoyed today’s post, you might find these related posts helpful:
- Do This, Not That: Desk Organization Habits
- My Favorite Clutter-Busting Tool for the Home Office
- Eliminate Paper Clutter for Good
Do you have an awesome tip for dealing with paper clutter? Share it in the comments below. I’m always on the lookout for new paper clutter hacks!
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Thanks for joining me today! Here’s to kicking office paper clutter to the curb for good!
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