10 Tips on Organizing Paper Clutter

If you do not keep yourself properly organized, paper clutter may seem to multiple daily! The following tips will help you cut back on the paper clutter.

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  1. Use a file cabinet for storage, whatever size or style is necessary, but keep it simple.

  2. Avoid using manila envelopes for storing items in a filing cabinet except in the case of maintaining past tax records. Items in a manila envelope tend to be out of sight and out of mind, and thus are probably not worth keeping.

  3. People who love to cut out articles, travel information or interesting places they want to visit need some sort of organization before they go crazy from all the paper clutter. Put each type of clipping into its own file, which is clearly labeled, so that items are easy to find. OR, copy several related clippings on one page to avoid loose clippings.

  4. When labeling tabs, be specific and avoid using "miscellaneous." If something's worth filing, it's worth naming.

  5. Place all tabs for hanging file folders on the front of the file. Fingers normally approach a file in such a way that if the tab is in front, the interior folder for that file is right there. If the tab is on the back of the folder, the contents being filed have a greater tendency to slip between two file folders and be forever lost in space.

  6. Never use paper clips when filing. They have a tendency to clip to other papers that may be of a totally different subject. Use staples if topics must be kept together.

  7. A general tip is that if a file grows larger than one inch, it most likely needs to be further divided or items needs to be thrown away.

  8. Whenever adding a new clipping to a file, go through the file to see if an older item can be thrown away. This helps put a curb on the growth of files. Things that have been in the file for quite some time usually can be thrown away.

  9. Designate an expiration date for as much of the filed material as possible. Code all of the material with an expiration date when the entry can be thrown away. Do not reconsider keeping something when its time is up. Stick with the original "toss by" date.

  10. Purchase a three-hole punch, punch papers and file them in three-ring binders. This also works great for pamphlets, maps and similar items.