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Copyright 2009 by Lawrence Yerkes. All Rights Reserved.
A day's worth of paperwork can amount to quite a sizeable stack on your kitchen table. A few days later and it will likely be a growing pile of scraps and slips. By the end of the week you'll be lucky if you can find the table at all.
Many of us find ourselves getting bogged down by junk mail, receipts, bills, bank statements, and letters that never seem to stop accumulating. Not only is paper clutter annoying and unsightly; it also can lead to late bill payments, lost documents, and seemingly endless frustration. Often organizing your paperwork is the most important step in creating a well ordered home.
Create an established "office" space
A home office doesn't have to be an entire room with a huge desk and rows of file cabinets. It can be as simple as a small area in your kitchen, dining room, or guest bedroom. You can use a small workstation or rolling cart as your desk if you like, and some places sell fold-up "desks-in-a-box" for those with limited space. The important thing is that you dedicate one area for your office needs.
If you find papers piling up, it may be that you're a natural stacker. You might be most comfortable with a system of trays or bins to organize your paperwork. For the more traditional, accordion files or file boxes will make more sense. The important thing is to have a place for everything: supplies, ongoing paperwork (like bills), and isolated paperwork.
Deal with things as they come
Try to handle the paperwork as it comes to you. You should be able to determine whether to pay, file, or trash each document. If you have a set time each month when you prefer to pay bills, you may want to set up a "to be paid" box for temporary holding. Avoid making any sort of "to file" area, as it will encourage lazy filing habits.
Keep clearing those stacks
You may find things piling up every now and then despite your best efforts. Keeping organized is a continuous process, so don't feel bad if you slip into clutter every so often. Just take a deep breath and spend the necessary 15 minutes or so to sort through everything.