In our so-called "paperless society," you can choose to trip over piles of paper on the floor or set up a simple filing system—make the labels “creative.” Here’s how:

1. Set up an “In-Box.” Make sure there’s a permanent place where you can put all your paperwork when it arrives in your home or office.

2. Then use a step file sorter (Office Depot, Staples, etc.) or a plastic, portable file box (preferably with a handle). Gather some manila file folders and a Sharpie for labeling the folders.

3. Place a recycling bin or large trash can near the location where you will be disposing of junk mail and sorting papers into labeled folders.

4. Next, label your folders:

Gotta Do. This will hold any item you need to take action on later.
Think About This. For special offers, brochures, or items you might consider buying or activities you're considering doing.
Refer to Others This is for items you aren’t able to deal with yourself. It could be mail for your spouse or co-worker.
File Pile. Any items that need filing.
Read Later. Place articles and information here to read later.
Awaiting Answer. This is for any item on which you are awaiting an answer from someone.
Pay Up (or "Expenses" if at work). This is for bills to be paid at home or work-related expenses.
Tax Info. Any tax-related items for Uncle Sam.
Hold for Later. Place your concert tickets, seminar info, etc. here. (No, it’s not for holding your parking tickets.)

5. It's important that you “sort” all your paperwork first before you do any of it. You'll have smiles, not piles of mystery papers. Once every item is sorted, start with your “Gotta Do” file and get to work.

Evelyn M. Gray, CPO-CD, CSL
Productivity & Certified Action Coach
ADD & Organizational Specialist
Organizing for Success
(626) 576-2059 PST

“If you can’t find it in 30 seconds, it’s in the wrong place”

Author's Bio: 

Evelyn Gray is CPO-CD® (Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization), a Productivity Expert, Certified Action Coach & Seminar Leader, consultant, trainer, speaker, and author. She uses these powerful set of skills to improve your focus, clarity and productivity level. Learn how to set goals and priorities so you can stay focused on the right things. Her expertise is in working with professionals who have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and individuals who have been disorganized most of their life. She trains and educates people, teaching them easy and simple strategies of not only getting organized but “staying organized.”

Evelyn’s simple “Stop, Drop & Roll” method teaches you how to have a “neat mess” so you can find your paperwork in 30 seconds or less. She “turns your piles into files,” so the only thing you have to lose is your clutter. Evelyn works with the person you already are, so you won't end up with a system you can't keep up with where everything is stored and retrieved at your fingertips.

Evelyn has a 26-page eBook on “How to Stop the Junk Mail,” and another eBook called Let’s Get Organized! Easy, Simple Strategies for Getting (and Staying) Organized for ADD, ADHD, and the Chronically Disorganized.” She’s currently working on another eBook called “The Ultimate Time Management Guide.” We "turn your piles into files," so the only thing you have to lose is your clutter.

So remember, “If you can’t find it in 30 seconds, it’s in the wrong place.”

Evelyn Gray, CPO-CD®, CSL