How to organise paperwork

If you have yet to find the best way to manage your paperwork, I’m writing this just for you! Paperwork is a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be the cause of so much clutter! The good news is, it is possible to keep it all under control if you dedicate a little time to setting yourself up with a simple system so that you tackle it as it comes into your home.

If you have yet to find the best way to manage your paperwork, I’m writing this just for you!

Paperwork is a fact of life but where does it come from and does it have to cause so much clutter?

Like death and taxes, you can’t get away from it! Anything from owning a gadget, to holding a bank account, store card or mobile phone, being employed, having a family, running a home or car, all generates paperwork! And that’s the important stuff! Then there is the paperwork that just arrives without cause or invitation; the leaflets, marketing materials, menus, catalogues and magazines that come through our doors all the time!

Do you also generate your own paper? I know I do; hand-written notes, printed documents, tickets, itineries to take to events, because you may need them, or simply because you prefer to read a real document sometimes.

In a bid to hold on to paperwork that may be useful, you stash it in a drawer or file it in away but it soon mounts up.

According to US National Association of Professional Organisers:

we don't look back at 80% of the paperwork that comes into our homes

Searching through mountains of paperwork to find that one important document you need is so frustrating!! At best it can cost you time searching, at worst it can cost you the price of a holiday when you can't find your passport!

The good news is, it is possible to keep it all under control!

And it's not that hard to manage if you dedicate a little time to setting yourself up with a simple system so that you tackle it as it comes into your home. Make sure you take 10 mins every day to do the following (don't just stack it up to deal with 'later'!)

  • Open envelopes and sort out the useless paperwork
  • Recycle envelopes, leaflets, menus, instruction manuals (unless you intend to sell items in future) and anything else you can find online
  • Take action:
    • add any key dates and appointments to your diary
    • schedule payments, make phone calls, book appointments
    • login to your online banking and other accounts and indicate that you’d rather receive online bank statements
  • Once actioned, recycle or shred the document (unless you need to take the letter along to the appointment, e.g. hospital appointments)
  • If you don't have time or can't take action straight away - assign one shelf, basket or noticeboard for the paperwork that is Waiting to be Actioned

Then each week tackle your Waiting to be Actioned pile - ensure you go back to this location every week and take the actions needed (perhaps it's a Saturday breakfast-time job)! Once the task is complete, file, shred or recycle the document

Now you've got a system set up to take tackle your paper clutter each week, it's time to sort out your existing paperwork

  • Prepare - Choose a table or floor with space to spread out, grab a recycling bag, shredder and a folder with dividers
  • Gather all paperwork from around your home
  • Sort through it, shredding, recycling or filing
  • File the documents in sections in your folder

Don't forget to use a system that is as simple as possible but feels logical for you - afterall you need to use it!

If it's a huge task, do this for each room, then bring everything together in one and have another pass and it.

I've created an Important Paperwork Checklist that outlines sections and lists all the documents I'd want to keep safe to refer to in future. It offers a guide to how you could organise your filing and the types of documents you might file. I'm sure there will be other important documents that you'll need to refer to or keep as evidence for something and you need to decide whether to keep them. If in doubt, keep it and gain some advice!

What are you waiting for?

So get started and do let me know how you get on! I love to hear how you get on with my tips.


By the way, just so you know, I'm an Amazon Associate so I earn from qualifying purchases. 


About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

We provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. We specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see our services or get in touch.

Spring clearing!

Spring clearing ideas and my exciting new competition to win time with a professional organiser!

I love snowdrops. I saw these and just had to take a pic of them!

What a beautiful first sign of spring, peeking through the grass after the recent snow. Snowdrops are a delicate announcement that Spring is truly here! They bring promise of better weather, longer days and a renewed energy after what feels like a loooong winter (and a renewed inclination to get out my running shoes!).

Spring cleaning; thoroughly cleaning or organising ones home, is traditionally carried out at the end of the winter. As the weather warms, it’s an opportunity to throw open the windows, wash curtains, shake out rugs and freshen the whole house!

It’s also a great time to use that spring in your step to do a bit of Spring clearing – have a good sort out and get organised for the year ahead!

Here are some projects to try:

  • Give bedrooms a good clear out. Pull everything out from under beds and on top of wardrobes and have a good look through – do you still need it all? Give away any winter clothes and shoes that have not been worn recently. Re-organise your wardrobe to make sure you can see your clothes easily and can choose easily as you navigate cooler and milder days in quick succession!
  • Ask the children to review their toys. If they didn’t have a sort out after Christmas, now is a good opportunity to pass on any toys that they no longer play with – ask them the questions below and get them to make some choices! They will appreciate having move space to play!
  • Sort through the books and possessions in your living room. As the weather improves, the light will change and you will see the possessions that are cluttering up your space. Rather than feeling cosy and comfortable, you’ll want the room to feel more airy, spacious and inviting for guests. Are there any books that you’ve read during winteOut with the old and in with the new! (2)r nights that you can now pass on for someone else to enjoy? Are there any other items that you want to remove or replace for a fresher look?
  • Freshen up your kitchen? Empty out cupboards, give them a good clean and exam items you’ve removed – does it all need to go back into the cupboard or are they better off with someone who will use them? Or are you going to start using them and cooking up new delights? Let’s face it, we always want more space in our kitchen not less! Anything that won’t be used needs to go!

If you’re having trouble deciding on whether to pass an item on, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it useful? When was the last time you used it?
  2. Is it precious? Do you love it?
  3. Why are you taking up valuable space in your home storing it?

If you need positive, non-judgemental, practical help organising your home this spring, contact Laura.