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how to organize files Cleaning can be a scary task, period. So today, we decided to help you guys out with some simple tips to organize your papers and documents at home.

Did you know filing away those loose papers actually has some great benefits like:
  • making it easier to find things
  • avoiding risks of tripping and falling
  • reducing germs around the home and surfaces where dust collects 
  • creating more space and enjoy better looking interiors for your home or apartment 
There's also other interesting reasons to organize, for example, experts warn that clutter could result in anger and anxiety issues and even cause relationship problems!

Is it any wonder that they thought to dedicate a whole week to organizing files with Organize your files week?

No, we're not kidding you, this actually exists – it's the third week of each April every year and it's dedicated to organizing files! Maybe this week is a good opportunity to help you stop wasting hours looking for that one important piece of paper, or just meant to connect with your spring cleaning jamboree! We'll never know, but however this started, it's a great time to start getting our home organized and our papers filed away, whether at home, office or in schools.

1. Don’t Skimp on the Storage

filing cabinet organization
Image from Theen Moy
If you have a filing cabinet, this would be a great time to start using or organizing it if you have a lot of papers to sort. On the other hand, you could use: some colorful (and preferably color coded) folders, a few drawers or cabinet space, or even a large bin with handles could be enough. There are plenty of ideas for organization on Pinterest like wall mounted basket, wire baskets, plastic bins, boxes and more.

The important thing is that there is a place in the house allocated for all the bills, receipts, letters and other documents. That old adage, a place for everything and everything in its place, very much applies here.

2. Sort Your Papers 

stack of papers
Sort your papers into piles (Image  via Ninnlane)
You may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the papers that surround you. They seem to be everywhere – on your fridge, in drawers, in your bags, wardrobes, tables, desks...well everywhere! So make a start by collecting all the papers from all places in your home and start doing some simple sifting and sorting.

Tip: Clear a large area on a table or the carpet or bed and make three piles: Action, Reference and Trash. If there is a bill to be paid or a letter to be replied to, it goes into the action pile. If there is an invoice you have to keep (for the warranty, date of purchase proof and so on) it goes into the reference pile. Similarly, bank and investment records, letters you want to keep, birth certificates, passports, all go into the reference pile. 

And then all the supermarket checks, brochures, bills, flyers, very old records you no longer need; bin them or shred them. Be a little ruthless; particularly if you're prone to hording – bin anything that you know you're no longer going to need.

3. The Action Basket

organization planner
Planner for you action basket list (Image  via Harpsicello)
Now, that you’ve separated your important papers from your trash, create a TO DO basket in which all the action papers go. Now print out a planner to schedule tackling those. There are plenty of great planners to choose from on Pinterest – daily, weekly or monthly. Now arrange those papers date wise, to be tackled in order of urgency and make a note for this on the planner so you can get to them on the due date.

4. Start Filing

color coded files
Tip: Use color coded binders or folders (Image via Rudloph Vclek)
You could sort out the paper filing system with color coded binders or folders and sort your documents into folders such as:
  • Personal records such as social security info, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate Educational records, degree certificates, 
  • Bank records, investments, credit card numbers, PIN numbers
  • Property deeds, mortgage papers, loan agreements 
  • Insurance papers – personal, medical, auto, house, pet and other insurance
  • Invoices, important receipts,  warranties and bills for big purchases
  • Medical records – it makes sense to have a separate folder for each member of the family, otherwise you're likely to get your records really muddled
  • Wills and other testamentary papers
  • Tax records   
  • Personal letters, greetings or invites that you want to preserve, and other papers of sentimental value
  • Leisure records – places you visited or plan to visit, entertaining, d├ęcor ideas,  
  • Special recipes  
  • Hobbies related items

5. A Few More Tips

tips for filing papers
Tip: Make filing a habit (Image via Rudolf Vclek)
You can fine tune your filing system as you go along! First, create an overall system you plan to follow so that your clutter is immediately under control. Secondly, make filing a habit. Don’t let the papers accumulate, quickly sort them into the appropriate reference folder or place them in the Action basket while making a note on your planner. And place that action basket where it keeps reminding you to take action (no excuses for things being out of sight, out of mind).

So here’s wishing you a busy and fruitful (if not happy) Organize your files week!  If you have some paper organization tips you'd like to share, we’d love to hear from you.