5 Simple Tips to Organize Paperwork in Your Office

Businesswoman under stress working in the office

When you have a full work day ahead of you with a long to-do list, the last thing on your mind is organizing paperwork. But as a Professional Organizer in NYC, I know that if you don’t address the overflowing pile soon, the clutter will take over your space. Instead of trying to block out a large chunk of time in your already busy schedule to completely overhaul your paperwork system, you can implement these simple organizing strategies today and see immediate results.

1. File as you go. As new documents come into your office, file them as soon as you finish processing them. Don’t add to the problem by stacking more paperwork to the overflowing piles! Make it a habit to immediately file a document when you are finished with it, or schedule yourself five minutes at the end of every day to file all of the paper you processed that day. Don’t leave a “to-file” pile for the next day.

2. Not everything needs to be filed. Be critical of the documents that come into your space. After you process a document, decide if it really needs to take up your valuable cabinet space. Add tasks to your to-do list and important dates to your calendar, and then recycle the paper that delivered that information. Don’t save junk mail, advertisements, or any document that isn’t relevant to your work projects and tasks. With less to save, you’ll have less to file!

3. Have a designated space for reference and archive files. These files include past client information or projects that have been finished, tax files that need to be saved, and any other file that is not relevant to your current workload that needs to be saved. Move your reference files to a less accessible lower drawer and the archive files into a storage box and move them into a storage closet. This frees up space in your active files which makes it easier for you to file daily.

4. Slow down on the printing. Not every email that is sent to you needs to be printed. Instead, organize your email folders to store important emails that you may need to reference later on instead of printing them out. Of course, you may still need to print out something, and that’s okay. Just be sure that you really need to have a hard copy before you hit that print button.

5. Declutter in small increments. Tackling your entire office may feel overwhelming. Instead, try scheduling time to declutter in smaller chunks of time. During that time, focus on one pile of paperwork – process it and then file or recycle it. Set a timer for just 10 minutes and dive in. Make sure you close your internet browsers and don’t take phone calls during this time. Once the timer goes off, you can get back to work.

This Professional Organizer in NYC knows that organizing paperwork can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to overhaul your entire office in one sitting. You can reap the benefits of office organizing by using these quick paper organizing tips and start enjoying the feeling of having control over your paperwork right away.

Stephanie Shalofsky, a professional organizer in NYC and founder of The Organizing Zone, works with small companies from solopreneurs with home offices to companies with up to 25 employees to gain control over their work environment, improving productivity and profits. She combines her training as a Certified Productive Environment Specialist and her non-judgmental and empathetic style, to help clients create highly functional and organized workspaces. Her clients find that going from disorganized to organized also clears the mind, allowing them to focus better on work, accomplish more in less time and freeing them to do the things that are most important.

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  11. I’ve noticed that a lot of old offices have some trouble filing their documents. If it were up to me, I think I’ll buy some filing systems in order to organize things better. You’re right about saying that documents that have been finished organizing should be filed away as soon as possible, so I’ll make sure to keep this in mind.


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