Paper Organization

Every day papers and emails come into my life from various sources.  It is a never ending cycle.  It is difficult for me to be productive if I see papers all over the place, so I have established a system with a spot for all incoming items.  It took a while to become a habit, but it really works for me.

Stack of Mail

 

When I am at home, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen so this is where the paper organization center starts.   I have a small command center on a counter. My goal is to keep all of the information that comes in organized and accessible for future action, while keeping a little paper as necessary.

paper clutter, paper management

 

When I open the mail, items are either filed immediately or read and thrown away.  If I need to keep the paper for future action, I file it in a folder.  My folders include the following: Food Ads, Coupons, Unpaid Bills, Events/Entertainment and Receipts, to name a few.

 

organizing papers, filing

 

If I only need to glean bits of information from the incoming paper, I will take a photo with my phone and toss out the paper version.  If the item is a document I will need for taxes or future use, it is filed in a filing cabinet in another room.  If the item requires response or a payment, it is filed under unpaid bills so that I can respond later.

 

To the left of this file box are binders for the major projects in my life.  The binders are great because these projects require more storage space than a file folder offers.

BInders.jpg

These binders include Household Information, Organized Island and My Parents.  My parents are on in years and I keep medical and treatment records to help manage their health. I use other binders as well, but not as often, so I do not need to keep them in the kitchen.  This is valuable kitchen property, so I try not to waste it.

Binders can be changed up to match decor and can be organized any way you like.  I appreciate this flexibility because the user can determine how they categorize the information.

This system allows me to:

  • Keep information organized and accessible
  • Keep as little paper as possible
  • Keep my kitchen counters clear of clutter
  • Purge papers on a regular basis

What system do you use to organize your incoming papers?

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Southern California office manager who loves to blog about time-saving recipes, entertaining, craft, party ideas and local events. Life is about making the most of your time.

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Comments

  1. Such a GREAT post… and it’s so needed. i’m waiting on my organization system to arrive, but hoping that will help on the paper end… ;)

    • Organizedisland says:

      Thank you Jamie for stopping by Jamie – less papers = more time! :)

    • Hi Jamie,
      Where did you find the kitchen center?? I assume you found something close because you said you are waiting for it to arrive. It does seem like a perfect system. Thanks

  2. What a great post! You have inspired me!! I will have a command center by this weekend!! I have something now – but your tips will make it better! :) Thanks for stopping by my site. :)

  3. I am absolutely doing this! My current organization system is non-existent! It’s a complete mess and overwhelms me. I deserve a gold star if I can get my husband to learn & FOLLOW the system. Thanks for the tip. Visiting from SITS. Andrea @ be-quoted.com

  4. I so need to be better about reading mail and throwing out and sorting. It looks like the paper factory blew up in here!

  5. I so need this! My papers are everywhere :)

  6. My current organizational goal is training my husband to throw away the junk mail. He always says he wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it!?!?! Honey? I don’t need an AARP application, but thanks!!

  7. Found you from SITS and I think this is a great idea. It’s much better than my current system of throwing it in a paper tray and hoping that it disappears over night.

  8. Ohh I so need to organize my papers, I finally this year bought a small calendar to write down and remember all the automatic payments that come out of my checking account so that I can make sure there is enough in there, and stop paying those we are pulling from here to cover over here.

  9. Great post, I always like to hear how people manage to organise themselves. The amount of times I let my paperwork build up before I get to filing things away. I need to get a system together that suits me I think…

    Happy sharefestI

    Kate

    • Organizedisland says:

      Yes, people have to find a system that works for them. There are different systems and I think you have to find one you can make a habit. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I try not to have a lot of paper products…. we pay a lot of our bills online, so I don’t get a lot of paper bills anymore. Anything tax related goes in the file folder, and almost everything else gets shredded!

  11. I don’t really use any system to organize my papers. Which isn’t good. But I love yours!!

  12. What do u think about scanning instead of filing most paper?

    • Organizedisland says:

      I tend to use my phone as a scanner because it is convenient. My scanner is in another room but I do use it for some things. Scanned items still need to be categorized and purged so it really depends on the document and how long I need to keep it as to whether I will scan it. Great question!

  13. Such a great post! If you don’t stay on top of paper, it will take over! Great system you have created. Thanks for sharing it!

    Tabby
    http://www.shoppingwives.com

  14. This is AMAZING. I so need to start (did you notice the word ‘start’?) to do something like this. I’d love to have you share this at What to Do Weekends. That will keep someone busy on the weekends, until they get in the “habit” huh? Best wishes, Linda

    http://www.craftsalamode.com/2013/01/heart-wreaths-for-valentines-day-plus.html

  15. Oh this is SO inspiring. I have a section in my kitchen that needs this! :)

  16. Thanks so much for the tip! My papers always end up in a pile on the kitchen counter and never make its way over to the office – so it totally makes sense to throw or file it right away in the kitchen!

  17. I am proud of you – especially the binder with Mom & Dad’s records! Way to go, Sis!

  18. Hi! Where did you get your organizer? The wooden container? Thanks! Kadi

  19. A wonderful post! You are a super organised lady for sure!! I love organising too, but just from the layout of your Blog I can tell you are a pro.

    Love the Blog and the posts, going to keep checking out the recipes….

    Jeanine

  20. Visiting from SITS, I have an organizer like that on my counter but like your tabs, I have some of the same but will be adding the others.

  21. I love the visuals in this post, getting to look at your system is great. If I was there I’d want to pick up one of those binders to see how you organize those. Do you three hole punch everything? Maybe you did another post you could link to with the inside.

    Thanks for the tips. I have a low wide two drawer filing cabinet that makes a great tabletop for my papers. : )

    • Organizedisland says:

      I should do a post on the inside of the binders. Yes I hole punch most of the items or keep them in pockets. He he…at least you have a cabinet. Thanks for stopping by Aruna!

  22. Ugh! Paper. The ever present mess. I’ve worked out a few parts of my system, still taming a few others. Looks like you’ve got a great system. Maybe one or two of your ideas can help me finish up my system.

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. Your comment luv isn’t picking up my post so here it is for today. http://www.eaglesclawsanctuary.com/2013/03/19/reading-my-novel-aloud/

    Thanks for the information about using binders and immediately dealing with mail. Enjoy your Sits Day.

  24. Happy SITS Day! Well, at least I manage to throw out the junk mail as soon as it gets in…and I keep the kindergartener’s stuff in a magazine holder in the pantry. But my “important” papers just have a little stack in the pantry jumbled up together. Maybe I’ll try the binder thing.
    visiting from http://stlmotherhood.com/ (I hate it when Comment Luv goes down!)

    • Organizedisland says:

      Hi Denise! Thanks for stopping by! Yes Commentluv is acting up..gotta check it out and add that to my list. :)

  25. I try to deal with papers and either trash or file them right away, but sometimes there are things that need to stay on the back burner for a while. We are planning our new kitchen, and I’m having two paper slots (kind of like mail bins in an office) under the desk/cabinet area – so papers are not everywhere but they are within reach and in my line of vision so I don’t forget about them.

    • Organizedisland says:

      Oh I love the idea of paper slots! Congrats (in advance) on your new kitchen. How fun to plan it!

  26. I like your idea of the folders…I am in the process of trying to figure out what the best system is for us in the kitchen! That might just work!!

    • Organizedisland says:

      Thanks Michelle, yes finding out what will work for you is key so that you can maintain it. Appreciate you stopping by!

  27. I consider myself fairly organized until it comes to paper clutter and then I just can’t pull it together. I love the binder idea and used to keep a basket for bills as they arrived. I think I need to go back to that

  28. Happy SITS!

    I am inspired! I have so much… paper around. The accordion file just isn’t doing it anymore! I really need to, at least, get a mail caddy.

    • Organizedisland says:

      The mail caddy works great. I just do not like seeing piles. Thank you for your sweet comment!

  29. I really need to do something like this, however, I’m just not sure if I’d follow through with it ;) LOL

  30. This is a great idea! I want to incorporate this into my own organization.

  31. Great ideas. I’ve been meaning to get one of those organizer stations. I love the binder idea too. I have just the spot in the kitchen for this. Thanks!

  32. What great ideas!! I love the binders idea- and changing the covers to add to the house decor! That is awesome! Happy SITS day!

  33. I have a paper center in my kitchen also, but it is a lot smaller and I have mine hanging on the wall, because I do not have much cabinet space. I like the binders you use.

    Happy SITS Day!!

  34. I’m so envious of your organization system… seriously, so envious…

  35. Brilliant! You’ve given me the perfect way to organize myself when I finally get to move back in with my fiance! :) thank you thank you thank you!

  36. Great post! Stopping by from SITS.I like the folder idea. Thanks!

  37. I’ve got this kind of system going pretty well in my home – now I just need to replicate it in my office!

  38. Great ideas! Happy SITS Day!

  39. I really struggle with mail piling up. Thanks for these wonderful tips! I’m going to try harder to stay organized and this will surely help!

  40. Great ideas! I hate my paper overflow. Happy SITS day, late :)

  41. I need to do something like this. Usually mail sits on the counter for a while until it gets sorted and then eventually makes it to the office and one day it gets filed.

  42. I wish I could be HALF as organized as you are, Raquel!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Binders – You have heard me mention my household binder before, but I also use binders for my blog, my parents health information, school information, [...]

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