Is your paperwork talking to you? Few people enjoy filing, so we end up with piles of paper around the home and office that we don’t know what to do with. Your papers may start ‘talking’ to you and making you feel guilty because you haven’t done anything with it yet (or is that just me and my perfectionism taunting me)?
“FILE me… READ me… PAY me… KEEP me… But don’t throw me out – I’m Important!”
The piles of paper speak to you from the corners of your office, desk, kitchen table and the ‘dumping grounds’ around your house. They almost beg for your attention.
“Deal with me!”
Sounds a bit like a horror movie – talking paperwork! But seriously, it really can become very overwhelming to go through these mountains of paper once they’ve been created.
Here are some tips on how to not let the paperwork piles get any bigger and get some control back.
Tips to Organise Paperwork
Decide DON’T Defer
Most paperwork around the house (or office) is there due to you NOT making a decision about it when you first look at it. For instance you get a letter in the mail and you think “Hmmm not sure what to do with this, I might need it later, or maybe I’ll read up on it later…. So, I’ll put it over here to look at in a few days…”.
It then sits there, never to be looked at again. To avoid the piles building up around you, DECIDE to do something with it immediately.
A great habit to get into is stand over your recycling bin when reading your mail, so you can automatically throw out all pamphlets, junk mail, envelopes and letters you don’t need to keep.
Keep LESS paper
If it isn’t mandatory to keep (e.g. for tax returns and tax archives) and it’s not your birth certificate, passport, citizenship papers, or current insurance policy consider if you really need to keep it. We often hold onto a lot of documents we don’t actually need to keep. Assess what your household needs to hang onto OR refers back to often. This will make it easy to know what to keep and what to throw out, as it comes in the door.
Have a Filing System
If you have no process and nowhere to store your papers, then the papers will never stop whispering in your ear. To get started, I’d recommend that you set up
- An in tray or box where all incoming documents live until it is dealt with
- A filing cabinet/hanging file document box, or document concertina to store your files that have been dealt with
- A regular time to give your paperwork some love.
There are many tips on dealing with paperwork & filing. I have several other blog posts on paperwork. If you need more help, check out these:
- How To Get On Top Of Your (Actionable) Paperwork
- What Documents Can I Throw Out?
- Overwhelming Filing Piles? Follow These Rules To Make Filing Easy
- How To Go Paperless
If your papers are towering over you and screaming at you to do something with them but you’re not sure where to start, then perhaps you need to hire a paper tamer to get you over the initial hurdle. Contact me to discuss how I can help you.