How do you deal with all the paper?


“My husband has his own business and I’m the bookkeeper of said business. All this paper really does have a purpose, and to clean it up means I have to touch it all!! I cannot get motivated to do that.”

Here are a few quick ideas I thought of:

  1. Throw away any paper that does obviously not belong in the space (takeaway menus come to mind). The better you do this part, the easier the rest of the process will be.
  2. Decide what does belong there. Some things will be “keepers” but just don’t need to be in that space and can be moved to storage.
  3. Determine your organising style. Personally I can’t work on a cluttered desk but I understand that other people have different styles.
  4. Things that you use nearly every day should be near you while things you don’t need to access that often can be kept further away. E.g. I only do filing once a week so I don’t keep any files on my desk.
  5. Make piles. Use broad categories at first and narrow down later if you need to. E.g. with me, it’s Clients…. then coaching, organising, corporate… File so that YOU can find it. I am very good at remembering people’s names so I often file by name. This wouldn’t work for my husband though.
  6. Then do the actual filing. This is of course the fun part for the weirdos like me – I can make my files pretty for hours on end. It does help to have cute files so you’re more likely to keep up your system.
  7. Maintain. This is the most important part of any organising (in my humble opinion). You’ve got to set aside some time every week to get the desk in order again.

I’m talking about scheduling just 15 minutes (you’ll have to do more if you have business and household paper) a week to file everything away again.

And there you have it.

How do YOU deal with all the paper in YOUR life?


One thought on “How do you deal with all the paper?

  • June 26, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I follow a couple rules in dealing with paper that have made the process so much easier!

    1 – I follow the 2-minute rule. As I go through a stack of paper, I go ahead and take care of anything that will take less than 2 minutes to accomplish. The others, I write a note on my to-do list, put a sticky note on the paper, and throw it in my Action folder.

    2 – No matter how long a session I dedicate to paperwork, I always clean up after myself at the end. Too many times I’ve been stuck with piles at the end of a 15-minute session, and the identity of those piles get lost by the time I’m at my next session.

    Kristy’s last blog favorite way to eat salad.

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