What are the Different Methods for Organizing Paperwork?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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There are several methods for organizing paperwork, depending on the type of information that one is trying to manage. For instance, some people may need help dealing with the mail and miscellaneous papers that find their way into their homes each day. Others have a disorganized home office, with a confusing mix of vital paperwork and unnecessary clutter. Still other individuals might have their papers organized neatly, but simply lack the storage space to keep them out of the way. There are practical solutions for each of these types of problems. Many people find that the best option is some combination of sorting, purging, filing, and storing.

Organizational experts often have certain rules for organizing paperwork, or paper-taming. For example, some professionals recommend trying to touch a piece of paper as few times as possible when dealing with it. Many people suggest opening daily mail immediately, and then deciding whether to discard it or file it, rather than putting it into a miscellaneous pile to be dealt with later. Bills to be paid can be organized according to due date, and it might be helpful to utilize a payment calendar or reminder system to help avoid late payments.


Organizing paperwork on a daily basis, with the aid of some tools, can help someone avoid allowing clutter to build up. Items that may be helpful in dealing with papers include baskets or trays for incoming mail, as well as trash and recycling bins for discarding unwanted documents. Small binders or organizers can also come in handy for things that people carry with them regularly. For example, people who use coupons when they shop could benefit from a portable, accordion-type organizer.

When attempting home office organization, many people prefer organizing paperwork by using file folders and cabinets, or boxes with labels. After eliminating unnecessary items, the paperwork that remains in the office can be sorted and filed according to specific categories. Common examples of these include personal information, medical records, and financial information. Sturdy cardboard or plastic containers can be useful for long-term storage of documents that do not need to be looked at regularly.

An additional hint for organizing paperwork is to reduce the actual quantity of paper in the house. Many documents can be scanned and stored on a computer or external hard drive. One can also create computer files for budgets and other household records, thereby eliminating excess paper. If necessary, hard copies of documents can be printed when needed. A personal safe or a safety deposit box is often recommended for storing irreplaceable or official documents.


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