Whether you work from home or just maintain your household paperwork, keeping paper piles under control can sometimes be a challenge. Between the constant influx of mail, your kid’s weekly folders and crafts, and various to-do sheets, it becomes very hard to differentiate between clutter and must keeps. Setting up your workspace with a system to best battle the paper piles will help you keep your surfaces clear while also increasing your efficiency!
- Clear off, divide, and throw out:
No matter that size of your mountains, it’s time to climb them. I suggest grabbing small piles at a time to begin sorting (working in a large clear space if available). Using boxes to group your items helps to prevent your new divided piles from overflowing into one another. Make sure to pile likes with likes, such as papers, receipts, toys, crafts, and household items. While sorting your items, make sure you throw away any thrash as you come across it. The goal during this step is to get all your surfaces clear, while setting the basic foundation of division. Since paper sorting can take awhile, as long as your papers are in one location you can begin to sort through them and discard the unneeded ones once your system is created. Also once the dividing process is complete, make sure to put away any items that don’t belong in the workspace/home office such as toys and bathroom items.
2. Create a filing system/action station that is relevant to your needs:
Through there are some similar topics that are universal for filing systems, for the most part they need to be custom made to be effective for your needs. If you run your business out of your home, you will need files relevant to your clients, vendors and accounts. However if it is just household paperwork it will be simpler, based on what needs to be held onto. To decide what works best for you, look at your sorted piles (the papers that NEED to be kept) and classify them either based on the company name or type (ie insurance, important documents, banking). Lastly you will need the physical file system. I recommend covered hanging files for those items you do not need to access frequently and open, desktop files for those that you get at weekly. Tiered baskets are also great for your actions items such as to-do, mail to sort, and paper to file away. And as always, remember to label!
3. Put your new system to work! Put all your current paper work away:
Now that you’ve cleared off your surfaces, divided your piles, put away the items that don’t belong, and created your filing system, it is time to use it! File the rest of the paper work in your system. If you discover that more categories are needed, don’t be afraid to add them. However try to be diligent on not holding on to papers that are not needed – they are just taking up space!
4. Relax – now you just have to use your system!
Now that everything is put in a proper place, it is just a matter of keeping up with you system. Having a small “to-file” or “to-do” basket helps, as it lets you go at your own pace while at the same time prevents the pile from getting too big and overwhelming.
For help getting your home office space under control, contact Taylor!