10 Easy Steps to Organised Paperwork

Portable filing box available from UCAN. Organise paperwork. Home office. Storage. Spacesaver. Buy at www.ucandoit.co.za
Portable filing box available from UCAN. Organise paperwork. Home office. Storage. Spacesaver. Buy at www.ucandoit.co.za

Did you know that organising paper requires more than just making neat piles? We all would probably say yes to that question however we often choose to see a neat pile of paper as an organised one. Here are 10 easy steps you can follow to easily organise your paperwork.


If there are papers you don’t need, get rid of them

When you get rid of the unnecessary heap of paperwork lying around, it gives you the breathing space to sort the important ones out. So, if it’s not useful or going to be useful, dispose of it. The easiest way to do this is by shredding the paper and then recycling it. If you have a lot of paperwork, you can even get a shredding company to collect it for you.


Sort important papers into categories

Now that you’ve disposed of all your unnecessary paperwork, you’re left with the important ones. Go through them and group them either based on date, a particular topic, an event, or location. When you do this, it makes each category of paperwork so much easier to find and you will quickly see if you’ve got duplicates of the same document.


Adopt a colour or label filing system

If you decide to categorise paperwork according to colour, you will be using files of different colours to represent the different categories. If you opt for a label filing system, similar files are used to hold the paperwork but a label is used to clearly indicate the category of the paperwork.


Get a cabinet or container to place the files into

Many people choose not to invest in a cabinet or shelving for paperwork but if you really do not want all your hard work of categorising and organising to go to waste, it really is highly recommended that you do so. Not only does a cabinet or container keep all your documents together in one place, but it also ensures that you keep to the filing system you have decided to adopt going forward.


Adopt the 5 minutes organisation rule

If you’ve never heard of this, it really is a simple rule. Essentially the rule suggests that you spend at least 5 minutes every day to fix the papers in your office back into their organised state. If you don’t regularly do this, you’re likely to have a big mess of papers before you know it.


Get a moderate sized box to keep receipts

It is so easy to loose receipts because they are often bits of paper that don’t have a ‘home’ to go to. As a result, when tax season arrives, you cannot claim many expenses because you’ve lost the receipts and therefore cannot prove the expenditure. In a business, this can amount to a lot of money. To avoid this situation, get a small box that you place on your desk just for receipts. If you are on the road a lot, get a small expanding file to slot your receipts into. That way they are neatly kept and easy to locate when needed.


Get a mailbox or basket

Whilst many of us now choose to receive communication electronically, there will always be something that is sent to you via (snail) mail. Avoid losing your mail by having a letter holder or small basket specifically for this in your office or home entrance.


Try to use electronic storage

The amount of paperwork we have to deal with in our daily lives is ever-increasing. Since it is now possible to keep copies of documents electronically, paperwork can be a lot easier to deal with if you go this route. If you do so however, remember that your computer, phone or tablet, also needs to be organised with folders that make sense to you.


When documents are replaced, get rid of the obsolete ones

When insurance, medical documents and the like are renewed because the policies have changed, get rid of the old one straight away. The old document is no longer valid so why keep it?


Yearly archiving and sorting is a must

The first step to organise your paperwork was to sort through it. This cannot be done once and then forgotten about. Whether at the office or at home, yearly archiving and sorting is a must if you are going to maintain organised paperwork. Jot this task into your diary so that you are reminded of it and remember to clearly label your archived paperwork for ease of reference.