Paper Clutter – Piling vs. Filing


A funny, but for some it’s no joke. If you have paper clutter, understanding the core paper categories can help you get started turning piles into well organized files.

While some may find storing paper around the office in piles works fine, most of us find it ineffective, inefficient and not so easy on the eyes. It takes on a negative energy in our space.

It will make things easier to know that whatever paper you are keeping will usually fall into one of three categories.






Related to a current project or core activity. Examples might be client work, a home remodel project, shopping lists or files around a Board of Directors position you hold,

Store this paper close at hand. Much of my active paper does exist as (very small) piles on my desk, under paperweights. The paperwork from other active projects are each in a labeled folder in an open file bin near my desk.

Used regularly, almost daily


Paper you need to refer to on occasion. The “go to” paper you get when it’s needed.

Tax documents, bills, financial paperwork, instruction manuals.

Used weekly or monthly.


All paperwork you are required or need to retain. This includes tax archives, financial transactions (stock purchases), older client files and the like.

This paper you only go to when it’s needed for a specific issue or transaction. In some cases, never! For example you are hoping you never get audited by Uncle Sam but you will want that paper if you!

Used annually or in the off chance you need to refer to it.

To manage your paperwork, categorizing and storing paper based on these types is a great way to start!

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