In the chaos of day to day life it’s easy to leave your office space in a mess of paperwork and bills.
But what happens when you lose an important bit of paperwork or forget to pay a bill?
It’s important to tidy up and sort your paperwork and bills to avoid this happening.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some easy tricks to help you sort it out.
1. Keep it simple
The first tip to getting your paperwork in order and setting up a filing system is to avoid complicating things. Your filing system should be easy to use and make it easy to find what you’re looking for. You don’t want to make dealing with your bills and paperwork more stressful than it can be.
2. Keep important documents safe
There are some documents you just can’t do without. They should be kept in a safe, easily accessible place. Paperwork such as loan agreements, birth and marriage certificates, medical records, passports, deeds, bank account and credit card numbers, mortgage agreements, instructions, tax returns, warranties and wills should all be kept safe. Some may need their own file in your cabinet, others should be kept in a safe or lockable cabinet.
3. Try the four tidy trays/baskets concept
This trick is especially good for dealing with incoming and outgoing paperwork such as bills or anything that needs to be read as a priority. Organisational expert Stephanie Culp suggests keeping four baskets for your paperwork – a To Do basket for the things you need to do, a To Pay basket for bills that need to be paid, a To File basket for paperwork you need to store and a To Read basket with important things you need to read through. These baskets can be stored in a variety of ways. Either stacked together in your office on your desk or as Culp suggests, keeping the To Do and To Pay baskets together and keeping the rest separate. She also suggests the To File basket be kept away from your immediate paperwork needs and keeping the To Read basket somewhere you’re likely to have down time to read. Instead of baskets you can have tidy trays, like an in try and an out try on your desk.
4. Keep your paperwork in once place
Ever find yourself searching every room in the house to find a bit of paper you need? Leaving paperwork scattered around the home is an easy way to lose them. That’s why keeping everything in one central place such as your office or desk is a good idea. Try making your central space a comfortable place to sit and work with a chair, computer, filing cabinet or files for storage, a rubbish bin, and office supplies. Other items such as paper shredder, printer, scanner and photocopier and a laminator can also be helpful.
5. Reduce receipts
If you find yourself sorting through a stack of receipts every tax year, you might be keeping more than you need. Author Julie Morgenstern suggests having an automatic toss list for everyday receipts such as groceries and other non-tax-deductible items. Any receipts you do need you can put in a file, organising them either monthly or annually. You might also consider scanning them and saving them on your computer and a CD or USB stick to reduce the amount of paperwork you hold onto.
6. Colour coding
Sorting your paperwork and setting up a file system doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Files of different colours or coloured labels can turn your filing system into a work of art and make it easier to find different kinds of paperwork. Having a set colour for bills and another set colour for receipts can be extremely helpful.
7. Go digital
If you’re sick of dealing with paperwork. Try moving everything to digital. You can elect to have your bills sent to you electronically, same with your bank statements. If you’re buying things online or paying bills online, you can also have receipts emailed to you or you can download them. Another option is to scan all your receipts, bills or other paperwork. Save these scanned documents to a USB stick, CD, hard drive and in folders on your computer. That way you can throw out the paper copies and maintain order in your office. Let’s face it, a stack of CDs or USB sticks can look far neater than a pile of papers.