What are your Babysteps for Organizing Paperwork?

What are your Babysteps for Organizing Paperwork?

Laure Joliet
Jan 16, 2008

Around this time of January, year end statements and tax related documents start to arrive. And if I'm not careful, they'll get lost with the rest of the bills to pay, etc. I don't have a huge home office (it's a little bigger than AztecGold's, pictured) so I've been setting up a new, handier filing system for paperwork. One that I've actually been using with relative success.

Any system I use has to be simple, otherwise I stop using them.

Let me describe my old system (FYI: I am generally a very organized person): a pile.

Yes my old system was to pile paperwork that needed to be saved and then every couple of months these papers would get put into a filing cabinet that I keep in the closet. This system works fine unless you need one of those papers that hasn't been filed yet and you're forced to go through the pile. I'm sure you understand. I have also been overwhelmed with receipts and where to put them etc. So I needed to address that too.

New system: I keep a Real Simple File Box on my desk with the files I use most: receipts, year end tax statements, ideas and tears from magazines and newspapers, current projects I'm working on, bills needing to be paid (they are currently using the pile method next to this box).

Then once a month I put the paid bills in their files in the closet. This is just a clear plastic documents box (like what you'd get at staples) that sits on a shelf. This way longer term files are somewhat accessible wihtout being in my face, or in my living room. I do keep what I store in check by following some of the basic guidelines for when it's safe to get rid of (and shred) paperwork.

This is working for me because the box sits on my desk. I can file most of the stuff that comes in immediately instead of piling, especially receipts. This may seem overly simple (and it probably is) but it's working for me.

If you want to get fancier, you can go go digital or stop some of the papers before they start. But for me, it's babysteps.

What are your babysteps?

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