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Regardless of whether you have a dedicated home office or you pay your bills from the dining room table, we all need a place to corral the influx of paper that enters our home each day.

Let’s be honest, there is nothing sexy about paper, especially when you’re staring at piles of it.

When we don’t know what to do with something, our first instinct is to do nothing.

I get it.  No one wants to make a mistake, especially when it comes to important documents.

The reality is that 80% of the papers filed never get looked at again. Which means we are probably keeping more than we really need.

To remove the guesswork for you (and hopefully save you hours of indecision), I’ve included a link that details the following:

  • What papers are important to keep
  • How long you should keep them
  • When it’s ok to discard old documents

Click to find out “Do I really need this?”

Now that you have a clear plan of reducing your paper clutter, let’s talk for a moment about keeping your office or office area functioning smoothly and looking fabulous.

1. Separate Action and Reference items

An “Action” item requires you to do something. An example of an action item would be a bill that you received in the mail that you need to pay, or an invitation that you need to RSVP.

A “Reference” item is something that you want to keep, but requires no action other than to be appropriately filed.  An example of a reference item would be insurance documents, claims, or various statements.

Action Box

By sorting into piles first, you not only save time in the long run, but also reduce the risk of having something important fall through the cracks

2. Store papers vertically. 

It seems like a no-brainer but storing papers in a manner that allows you to quickly find them (as opposed to rummaging through stacks of papers) saves you valuable time and energy.

3. Label files for easy retrieval.

One of my clients recently shared a story that she needed to find her child’s latest health records from the pediatrician and within minutes she had the document in hand. Labeling your files will shave hours of searching later on.


4. Make it accessible.

We are all busy. Having a designated space within reach eliminates the urge to create piles throughout the house.

home office kitchen

5. Follow Through. 

The greatest plans fail as a result of lack of execution. Consistency can be the difference between clutter and calm.

So the next time you plan to drop the mail in pile on the dining room table, resist the urge and think how much time you are saving yourself in the long run.

Happy Organizing!