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June 02, 2010

A Week of Paper Organizing Tips and Ideas

With the next session of Organize Your Paper Clutter just around the corner, I have paper organizing on my mind. So for the next seven days, I thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts on paper organizing tips and ideas.

Now if summer is starting up where you live, you may not be thinking about your paper clutter too much. But summer is a terrific time to get some paper organizing projects completed. When it’s too hot for outdoor organizing projects or indoor organizing projects that require heavy lifting, making progress on your paper clutter is a cool alternative. Plus, if you have school aged kids, this is one time of year when the flow of paper slows down, giving you time to catch up on your paper backlog. So…let the paper organizing begin!

Paper Organizing Tip 1:  Tackle Your Action Paper First

If you’re faced with an overwhelming amount of paper clutter, you may find yourself stuck, wondering where to begin the process of digging out. I recommend starting with a high level sort. Separate your action paper from your reference and archive paper. How will you know your action paper when you see it? Well, your action paper has a to-do associated with it. Bills to pay, invitations that require your response, and registration forms that need to be completed, are all examples of action paper. This is the paper that is keeping you up at night…it’s the paper that leaves you wondering “Did I take care of that” or “Where is that bill? I really need to pay it.” This is also the paper that can have the greatest consequences when you don’t have an effective system for dealing with it. If you don’t pay the bills because you can’t find them, you could face late fees. If you don’t RSVP in time or enter the date of the party on your calendar, you may miss the party, or you may feel bad when the hostess follows up with you to see if you’ll attend. But, when you gain control over your action paper, and take care of the associated to-dos, you create tremendous peace of mind. So start with your action paper first…and then move on from there.

I'd love to hear what paper organizing projects are on your to-do list. And where do you start when you've gotten behind on your paper?


Tomorrow I’ll share a fun paper organizing idea for summer—creating a seasonal recipe binder. (Which is a project that's on my personal to-do list.) See you then!


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Oh, I SO need this encouragement right now, Aby! Thanks for posting this. We recently bought a new filing cabinet AND new folders, so we removed everything from the old one. THEN we moved. LOL. So now we just have piles of paper everywhere, which is SO not like me because my house is VERY organized (I worked at The Container Store for two years). LOL.

So this week and next, I REALLY hope to get a handle on this. Thanks for these tips and the little nudge! I'll let you know how it goes... ;-)


I got away from your blog for awhile, Aby, and with doing so, I got away from any semblance of organization. This is especially true with paper, so I was thrilled to see you posting about this on Facebook. I do have a mail rack that held my active paper, but of course, right now it's full of non-essential stuff. So that will be first on my list. Then there's the HUGE pile of stuff for filing that's currently a mountain on my desk.
I now have your blog bookmarked right at the top of my computer screen so I certainly visit more often :)

Carolyn | A Beautiful Ripple Effect

Thank you, Aby! Just the encouragement I needed to get back to my daily tickler file. It is so helpful for my little action items with icky due dates!

Pam Walter

Great first step! There are days when I feel like if I see one more piece of paper I'll just scream!

shredding San Antonio

These are indeed creative and helpful ideas in organizing our paper files at home and at work. These tips will ensure that our homes and workplaces are free from paper clutter. Thanks for sharing a very informative article.

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