I Need a Paper Clutter Sorter

Dear FlyLady,

Help!  I’m surrounded by paper clutter.  My home office is the size of a closet and it’s the place where papers go to die.I work from home and am blessed to have an office with a door that closes, even if it is tiny.  However, everyone in the family gives me papers to hold on to.  There isn’t a horizontal surface that isn’t overflowing and avalanches are a common occurrence.

Have you ever thought of offering a paper clutter tool similar to your decluttering bags?  I have no idea how to sort through all this and, even if I did, have no room.  In the past, I’ve used the dining room table for sorting but that never works because I end up with piles that have to be cleared for dinner and I don’t know what to do with the piles I’ve made so they end up in a box and back in the office.

Cindy in VA, wishing for a paper clutter sorting tool for Christmas or sooner!

Dear Cindy,

Our offices become the happy dumping ground! It does not matter what size they are! You don’t need a special sorter to deal with the papers! STOP SORTING and MAKING MORE PILES!

You need a motto! Click the image to download one for you.

This motto helps you to curb your
urge to procrastinate! It is procrastination that causes the piles. Our motto of Only Handle It Once works because it is the Do It Now Principle in action.

Here are the steps you take to get control of your paper clutter as it comes into your home before you can pile it up. We will deal with the piles later. For now you have to stop making more piles. This means you have to process the paper. Set your timer for 2 Minutes. Two minutes will eliminate piles.

1. When you find a piece of paper in your hand do not put it down until you process it. Open envelops and discard the trash immediately.

2. What is it? A bill, an appointment, trash. Keep in mind that the best sorter is your trash can or recycle bin.

3. If it is a bill you have some choices to make; Pay it now, Process it to pay when it is due, put it on your calendar to remind you to pay it in a timely fashion, and put it in your Office in a Bag. This is a place to keep your unpaided bills.

4. If it is a paper to be signed; sign it and put it in your child’s backpack, in an envelope to be mailed to who needs it.

5. If it is trash! Throw it away! Recycle it! Shred it! Or put it in a burn bag to be used as kindling in your fire pit.

This same process works for those piles you have in your office. All you have to do is process them a handful at a time; 6 inches at a time. Most of it will be trash! The trash can is the best filing cabinet! Those piles are mainly trash that you have not processed!

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