Day 7: In Search of a Useful Paper Organizational Method

Paper is my nemesis.

Let me say that a little more vehemently: PAPER IS MY NEMESIS.

I love paper. I hate paper. I keep paper. I throw out paper. I find papers I shouldn’t have kept in every box, every closet, every drawer, every shelf, every random place paper shouldn’t be. I’m a writer … paper happens.

I am on a hunt to find The Perfect Paper Organization System. Part of me wants to just give up and throw it all out (Sorry, Uncle Sam), but the responsible adult in me is horrified by the idea.

While I’m attacking the areas of my life and home that are easier for me to handle (closets, drawers, cupboards, etc.) I am doing research on systems that could help me. I’ll keep you updated on what I find, and I’ll start with these first few resources after the jump.

What can help my unsorted folders?

I think the key is to pick the system that makes the most intuitive and logistical sense for my situation, so I’m doing my research and taking my time deciding how to attack my filing cabinet and my plastic tote of “important papers to be sorted.” Below I’ve compiled a list of paperwork-related organizational links to help me get started. Maybe one of these will help me, or you!

Paper Tiger – A service that claims to simplify your life and help you in your personal or business filing by automating things through your computer. Sounds very intriguing, but you do have to pay for it and it is only as good as the person using it (i.e. the computer can tell you where to file it, but you still have to do the filing.)

Organize Your Filing Systems: A Four-Step Formula That Really Works – “Really works” piqued my interest. This article seems pretty straight forward.

How to Simplify Your Filing System; or, Why Stacking Just Doesn’t Work – An article from the ever-calming Zen Habits blog.

Just Organize Your Stuff: Joys – A graphic designer who decided enough was enough and she wanted an attractive way to organize her files. She sells paper organizing tools.

Paper Organization: How to Set up a Filing System -A YouTube video from MonkeySee Videos in which a professional organizer Erin Young of Clutter Busters tells us how she organizes her home files.



Filed under Office, Paper

5 responses to “Day 7: In Search of a Useful Paper Organizational Method

  1. As a professional organizer, I’ve got to say that you’re right to go with the intuitive method. Go with “Banking”, “Credit Cards”, “Essay Ideas”, “Heating”, “Mortgage”, etc. Try to be specific, so when you get a piece of paper that you need to file, you already have a place for it. And purge what you don’t need. Ask yourself, “When did I last see this?”, “Will I need this again?”, and “What’s the worst that will happen if I throw it out?” Good luck!

  2. Thanks! I appreciate the positive feedback, and those are all questions I’ve become very familiar with. I think we’ve thrown out, sold, or given away about 30% of the stuff we started with after we got married last year.


  3. Gen

    Hi Andrea, I recently found your site and I’m going through the archives. Have you read David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”? He offers a folder system to go along with his productivity streamlining methods. I read it a few years ago; I think I need to read it again and see if more of it sticks with me. 😉

    • Getting Things Done is my husband’s favorite book, I think. He’s always talking about it! I probably should read it … *sheepish* … maybe get the Cliffs Notes version from him?

  4. Pingback: God Bless You, Julie Morgenstern | Behind Closed Drawers

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