Paperwork! The Great Divide

Before I learned how much paper I could eliminate from my document storage I had folders within folders within folders of paper. Now, my filing system is much simpler, and I hope I can help you simplify your system so you can find anything! If you’ve been reading along with this series, I hope you’ve started to see how little paper you need to keep.


Before you dive into The Great Divide you need to set your goal for the day – whether it’s one stack of paper or one hour, decision fatigue is still at play. We will still avoid dividing papers into multiple categories at once. At this point you’ve handled a lot of paper and you have a good idea of what kinds of documents you have. If you’ve noticed a natural division for filing, then you’ve already found your first great divide.


Pick a stack of paper about 6-8 inches deep and divide into two categories. For example:


٠ Work and Home

٠ Banking/Investing and everything else

٠ Medical and everything else

٠ The Novel and everything else

٠ Genealogy and everything else


As you make this pass through your documents, you may still find reading material, memorabilia, or one-of-a-kind documents. You may also discover paper to toss or shred. Handle these documents now – that’s why your starter stack of filing was only 6-8 inches deep. Repeat this process until you’ve accomplished your goal for the day!


Before we start breaking down into other categories I recommend that you splurge and buy a paper sorter like this one from Amazon. It lets you sort papers alphabetically, numerically, by month, day of the week, etc.


If you haven’t purchased hanging folders and file folders for a file box or file crate, now is the time to get those things ready. Label the hanging folders A – Z with these handy filing tabs from Avery. While you’re looking for tabs, check out the file folder labels if you’re using color file folders. I promise you won’t need a box of 100 sheets (330 labels), so don’t go crazy ordering a big box.


Next time, we’ll divide and conquer more paper!




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