Action documents can be kept in an inbox tray on your desk or in a file folder close by. You could sort your action documents into groups like bills, letters that need a reply, etc.
Fabric boxes can hide the visual mess that often takes over home offices. The Container Store has linen boxes in different sizes, depending on whether you want to store recipe cards, pictures, printed documents, or other paper mementos.
Malaika Lubega, the owner of Huza Home Concepts and a professional organizer and decorator, says that as soon as you enter your home, you can decide if you need to sort, throw away, or keep different papers. She thinks that making a simple “drop zone” can help reduce the amount of paper that is lying around. “I use what I call my “honey do box” to keep track of, store, and get rid of as much paper clutter as possible in my own home.” Lubega suggests that everyone use her own Made by Design Plastic File Crate with Lid ($11, target.com) because it won’t make a mess if it falls over. She says, “Once a week, I go through this box, file anything that won’t be kept, shred the rest, and throw away the rest.”
You’ll need a place to keep papers you don’t use very often. Think about a sturdy plastic box or file folder that can be hidden in the attic or somewhere else out of sight.
Collect important papers like tax returns, medical records, insurance documents, and leases, and scan them into your computer to keep them safe. Recycle everything else, but keep any cards or pictures that are too important to you to throw away.
You should put your papers together in the way that makes the most sense for you. Think about how many records or papers you have. If you don’t have many papers, you may only need to sort them into active and inactive files. Put these papers in a filing box with an open top and put it on your desk or a shelf of books to sort.
To save space in your file cabinet, keep permanent files separate. A safety deposit box is a good place to keep some of these things. Other documents that are less important can be put on a shelf in a closet, attic, or garage.
This week’s goal is to get your home files in order so that you can find the papers and records you need quickly and without spending a lot of time filing.