Americans spend around one year of their lives, on average, looking for lost items. But it can seem like an eternity when you’re tearing your house apart trying to find your car insurance documents when you need to renew.

That’s no way to live! You could be using your free time doing almost anything else and it would be a better way to spend it. 

What you need are some tips on the best way to organize paper files. Lucky for you, this guide will reveal exactly how to organize paper files so you can enjoy life with less stress.

Shred and Scan as Much Paper as Possible

One of the first tips for organizing paper files is to get rid of most of them. You likely have envelopes, junk mail, and unimportant mail stuffed into your paper clutter. Go through every document and shred or recycle things you don’t need to keep.

You might also have documents that contain useful information. But you might not need to hold onto the physical copy. In those instances, put your scanner to good use and store them on your computer instead.

Invest in a Filing Cabinet or Document Box

If you thought the best way to organize paper files was to leave them in random piles all over your house, you’d be wrong. You need a dedicated file storage system like a filing cabinet or document box depending on how many you have. For sensitive information, opt for a filing cabinet with a key. 

No matter which system you choose, you also need to keep paper files organized within that system. Tab dividers are one of the most affordable and easiest ways to do that and you can click here to see your options.

Use the Goldilocks Approach to Organization

Once you have the right supplies, you can start organizing paper files. If you are organizing your home files, they might look like this:

  • Vehicle
  • Bills
  • Insurance
  • Identification
  • Education
  • Credit cards
  • Bank statements

If you only have one or two documents in one category, it’s too niche. But if you have lots of documents in one category, you need to divide them into sub-categories. For example, “insurance” could break down into health insurance, home insurance, etc.

That’s the Goldilocks approach to paper organizing. It needs to be a system that is exactly right for your personal needs and isn’t too complicated to maintain.

Keep a Small File for In-Progress Documents

It’s inevitable that you will have some documents that you are still dealing with. For those instances, keep a very small in-tray on your desk.

But don’t let it overflow or your paper will soon spiral out of control again. Sort through this tray at least once a week.

That’s the Best Way To Organize Paper Files

Collecting and storing paper documents is an inevitable part of western life. But now you know the best way to organize paper files, it won’t be the bane of your life anymore.

Whether you run a business or a busy household, it pays to be on top of your workload.