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Decluttering your paperwork can seem like a daunting task at first. Who has time to sort through all of those papers anyway? But as those papers pile up, we become frustrated when we cannot find an important bill causing late payments, missed deadlines and more frustration. How do we solve the problem? We’ve come up with a list of 3 simple products and an efficient filing system process to declutter your paperwork that can maximize your productivity and time. No more late payments. No more missed deadlines. And no more frustration.

3 Simple Products to Declutter your Paperwork

  1. File Folders – the most efficient thing about individual file folders is that when filed vertically, they maximize the space in your drawers. Storing these folders vertically is key because this allows you to find what you need much faster and will therefore maximize your time and productivity. We do not recommend purchasing expandable folders as they are not as efficient when sorting through files and may take up more space than needed in your cabinet drawers. We recommend using the deeper drawers in your cabinet to store your file folders, that way they will be more accessible.

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Target – File Folders, 12ct, Blue and Marble – Threshold

2. Expandable Drawer Dividers – These are a drawer-saver and can be adjusted to fit any size drawer, therefore maximizing your space. These dividers can be set accordingly to hold your file folders in place and can be expanded when you need to add more files to your cabinet.

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The Container Store – 4″ Expandable Drawer Dividers 

3. Erasable Labels – We love these multi-use erasable labels and highly recommend them when labeling your file folders. That way, when you no longer need a specific file, you can reuse your file folders by adjusting the label accordingly. Disclaimer: These are not designed for use with printers and can only be handwritten.

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Office Depot –  Avery Permanent Erasable Multipurpose Labels 

Now that we have the essential tools to organize our papers accordingly, we can begin to declutter our paperwork by following these vital steps:

The Efficient Filing System:

  1. Combine all of the paper clutter into one single pile. This will make sorting through and filing much easier.

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2. Sort through each paper, one by one, and divide them by general category and then by subcategory. For example, an electric bill will be sorted as “Bills” as the general category and “Electric Bill” as the subcategory. A telephone bill will be sorted as “Bills” as the general category and “Phone Bill” as the subcategory. You get the point.

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 8.48.42 PM3. Once you have subcategorized each paper, sort through each subcategory to further organize by date, placing the most current on top for that subcategory.

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 8.52.18 PM4. Once you have your general category such as “Bills” set up, label the front of your file folder “Bills” and label the tab of your file folder based on your subcategory such as “Electric Bill”. This will be what we call your starter folder for “Bills”, the first one filed in the cabinet. All of your electric bills can now easily be filed into this folder.

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5. Each folder following your starter folder will be subcategorized based on the other types of bills that will be filed. You will no longer need to label the following folders as “Bills” because the starter folder is already labeled as such. The following folders will only need to labeled on each tab to reflect the subcategory of the bills being filed. For example, the subcategories can include phone bills, electric bills, rent bills, etc. Side Note: The only time we will be labeling the front of the following folder is if the general category has changed in which that folder will now be the starter folder for the next general and subcategories. 

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6. Add an expandable divider between each general category folder to further separate and maximize usefulness and efficiency.

7. Remember to always shred and recycle important and confidential documents.

Decluttering and organizing your paperwork may all seem overwhelming at first but once each document is placed in it’s respective folder, filing will become easier as long as it is done right away to avoid any future clutter.

Share your tips and favorite tools for decluttering your filing cabinets below!

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