6 Questions to Sort Paperwork

Paperwork.  Does anyone really like paperwork?

When I ask my clients what is the number one area of their life they'd like organized, they usually answer paperwork!  While actually sorting out papers and creating/maintaining a filing system is a chore that few people relish, (except for me, the professional organizer!) there is something so settling and peaceful about having all of the important papers in order where one can easily and quickly access them.

It is time well spent.  You will save time, aggravation, and surprisingly, even money by having all your paperwork in order.

First you've got to have something to file them in.  I recommend making a practice filing system using these boxes.  Once you have everything filed, then you'll know what size filing cabinet you need.   They come in many drawer quantities and there are even desks with file drawers built right in them.  Of course you'll want to consider your space as well.

I've got this beauty in my office. It's a vintage military cabinet that I picked up at the Beldenville Flea.  It's really sturdy and heavy.  The doors close smoothly and evenly and it holds the just right for me amount of paperwork!

It was love at first sight!
I once worked in a small office that held 4 filing cabinets with a total of 14 file drawers.  I felt surrounded by paper and despite all of that organization, it took me hours and sometimes more than one day to locate just the right form or piece of paper. 

It turns out that the last 2 people that had held my position had each made their own filing system, rather than sorting out what was there.  Oh my!  I wish I had taken photos of when I sorted out all that paperwork into just 5 file drawers.  What a relief and a feeling of security to be able to find just what I needed, when I needed it.

No matter the pile of paperwork facing you, with a little help, it can be done!



First, gather all of your paperwork in one place.  It's going to be a bit messy for awhile, so best to allocate an unused room, a  large table or a lot of boxes to this task.  Remember to gather from all rooms of your house. It is surprising how much paper is lurking in our attics, our basements, and even our automobiles!  

Any memorabilia that you find goes into a separate box.  Sorting memorabilia is another topic for another time.

Once all the paperwork is together, let the sorting begin!  You should always keep these documents and create appropriately named files for them.  As for the rest, ask yourself the following questions to determine to keep or discard.

1. What is this?
2. Why am I holding on to it?
3.  Have I already learned/used this information?
4.  Do I ever need to look at this again and under what circumstances?
5.  Can I find this on the internet?
6.  Shall I save this for a future project that I want to spend time on?

Remember to always shred anything that has personal information on it!

In less time than you think may be possible, you could have all your paperwork in order.  

Imagine the bliss...it could be yours.

What kind of filing cabinet do you use?

Do you have a funny or not-so-funny story to share about lost or misplaced paperwork?