Reduce piles of papers

Paper management requires a system for reducing and organizing all types of paper. Are you ready to get a handle on papers that are already in your home and office as well as those that come in on a regular basis you need a system?

Paper management system

How to manage paper

Paper management from my Professional Organizer perspective, has psychological, physical and financial benefits. Find important documents easily, pay bills on time, a dust-free environment, and more.

Use my ROAM (Reduce, Organize, Act, Maintain) system which consists of the following 4 steps:

Paper Management | Reduce

Paper management begins with reducing the amount of paper collected. This includes notes, documents, lists, magazines, coupons, etc.

  • Select 1 surface to declutter in any room of your house or office.
  • Select 1 pile of papers on that surface to purge and macro-sort. Macro-sort means keep or not. Keep is for action or reference. Not means it goes into recycle or shred.
  • Work with 1 piece of paper at a time starting with the top piece. Do not be tempted to go through the pile looking for something related to this paper.
  • Make quick decisions – keep or not? NO MAYBE’S! When in doubt, keep it for now.
  • When that pile is completed go to the next pile. Continue this process until the surface is clear of all piles of paper.
  • Use this process for every surface that you want cleared in every room. This includes the floors and staircases.

Paper Management | Organize

Organize papers
  • File or scan papers that you need to keep.
  • Set up an action file for papers that you need to do something with such as bills to pay, letters or cards to send, papers to read. Sort them into these categories and prioritize by date to be completed. If there is no due date, set one for yourself.
  • Reference files are for taxes, high appraisal items, health and medical records.

Paper Management | Act

  • Complete the action for each piece of paper then decide if it need to be kept or not.
  • Open your mail daily and macro-sort immediately; no more piles.
  • Don’t bring junk mail into your home at all.
  • Depending upon your comfort level, sign up for paperless options.
  • Unless you need receipts for tax documentation or high value appraisals.
  • Scan receipts that you need to keep for a year or more. Most receipts fade and become illegible over time.

Paper Management | Maintain

Paper management systems are easier to maintain when you …

  • Open mail daily.
  • File weekly.
  • Reconcile monthly then shred receipts.
  • Purge files quarterly.

Paper Management | Resources

Paper management including how long to keep documents can be found on AARP and IRS.gov.