A recent client of mine asked me to help organise her home office, where she and her husband run their 2 businesses (I will share 'part 1' of this on Thursday). They have a lot of paperwork and needed systems for keeping the paper clutter at bay. When putting the plan for the space together, I researched lots of different organising methods, as I know paperwork is a real nightmare for a lot of people. Here are some ideas you might find helpful:
1. I am a big fan of using step files to categorise paperwork and remind you what needs to be done. Categories such as 'to file', 'bills', 'follow up/action' and 'interesting reading' keep everything sorted, and because it is on your desk, it is easy enough to sort through regularly. I use a similar system with my own paperwork which you can read about here.
2. A filing cabinet is a great storage option for paperwork that you don't need to keep right at hand. The one below has 3 drawers, so stationary and items necessary for filing (e.g. labels, labeller) can live in the slimmer drawers, leaving the whole bottom drawer dedicated to colour-coded files.
3. This larger filing cabinet has amazing storage space, and a labelled and colour-coded system is used to create 'filing zones' within the cabinet. This make it super-easy to see at a glance where everything is.
4. Another great system is to utilize colour-coded binders for important personal documents. Keep them handy and easy to access by standing them upright in a dish organiser - I use one of these to organise my baking trays but never would have thought to use it in the home office!
5. Another option for bringing organisation and colour into your home office is to make up some quick and easy labels for folder spines in co-ordinating colours. Folders can be a good option for separating personal items, as long as you don't go overboard with them - too many folders will take up valuable storage space!
6. If there's no room in your home/home office for a filing cabinet, or you don't like the look of them, labelled boxes on open shelving are a good way to corral the paperwork and keep everything close at hand.
7. The picture below uses a similar system with the small boxes for paperwork, but also incorporates larger boxes, baskets and magazine files to categorize different items. And you know how much I love the Expedit!
8. If you're not a fan of plain magazine files, but don't want to spend a lot on decorative ones, you can buy cardboard ones (like this pack of 5 from Ikea) and cover them with wrapping paper. A cost-effective solution that will also add a pop of colour and keep everything organised!
9. One of the organising systems I recommended to my client for current paperwork is this wall newspaper rack which can be labelled on the side or front. This gets the paper clutter up off the desk but still in sight so you can't forget about it! You can use one...
...or quite a few, depending on your needs. You can colour code the manilla files if you have a number of different arms to your business, or for different categories or family members.
How do you keep control of the paper clutter? Do you use a filing cabinet or do you prefer boxes and folders? If you need any help organising your home office or paperwork, you can contact me here, I'd love to help!