In many American homes, managing paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter-related stress. In the July issue, I wrote about some of the things that make organizing paper such a difficult challenge. (If you missed it, you can see Organizing Your Paper - Part 1 here.) This month we continue to explore paper organizing issues and what you can do to make it easier to take charge of your paper.
Choose Quality Paper Organizing Tools.
Most people severely underestimate how the tools they use affect the way they feel about organizing. I know because I used to be one of those people, too. I honestly believed spending money on organizing tools was a waste of money so I had quite a collection of cheap, flimsy, and downright ugly organizing tools - and in some cases, none at all. It’s true. I was just like a lot of my clients!
I had a rickety old file cabinet with drawers you could barely open. And a crate that sat on shelf for overflow (see Before photo). And they were so overstuffed you could not fit another piece of paper in them. As a result, I would end up with piles of paper on top of the filing cabinet and all around my office. Then when I needed something, I’d go crazy looking through all those piles.
When I finally realized the situation would not get better on it’s own, I had to get over my fear of wasting money and invest in quality organizing tools I really liked using. (See After photo) It honestly my life changed.
Dealing with my paper became so much easier, neater, simpler and less stressful. Today I often hear people say things like “I don’t need my files to be colorful or neat. It doesn’t bother me”. Funny thing is, those are the same people who are overwhelmed with paper and hate filing.
The truth is they simply aren’t aware of how much it’s bothering them. Once we design a simple paper organizing system with quality tools they actually enjoy using, they are genuinely shocked at how easy it can be and how good it feels to keep up with their paperwork.
Choosing to put up with tools we don’t like is sometimes a money issue, but often it’s a reflection of how you feel about organizing in general. Sometimes it’s a reflection of how you feel about your ability to organize as well. Sometimes it’s just because no one ever told you what a huge difference it can make in your life! So now you know. If you hate to file, take a good hard look at the supplies and tools you are using. Ask yourself how you could make your system more attractive to use. You might be surprised at the answers you come up with!
Don’t be Afraid to Use Your Supplies!
A really interesting phenomenon I encounter frequently is people who fear “wasting” file folders. They buy a box of file folders and then expect it to last forever. They actually feel that creating a file for every new project or need they have is a waste!
Some people think spending money on colorful file folders they really like is also a waste of money. Meanwhile, they are living and working in paper chaos that is ruining their health and costing them hundreds of dollars in late fees when they don’t pay their bills on time.
Investing in quality file folders and other paper organizing supplies is actually an investment in your own well-being – but only if you USE them! Don’t worry about using them up…that would be a good thing. It would mean that you are taking the time to make your paper easy to find when you need it!
A box of colorful file folders is only about 8$ a box. A movie ticket costs more than that! So what is the real issue? The real issue is that you need to believe that being organized and being able to find the paper you need is not a waste of time, money or supplies. Your peace of mind is worth it.
For more tips to help you make better paper organizing choices, check out my free 30 page e-book on home office organizing.
Copyright © 2007 Ariane Benefit
NOTE: (This Article is Reprinted and Updated From the Sept. 2007 Issue of NJ Life and Leisure)
Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed, Organizing Consultant is the founder of Neat & Simple Living. She and her team of top-notch professional organizers help people create the homes & offices of their dreams!
Ariane is a Life Coach and Organizing Expert, specializing in managing life with ADD, overcome chronic disorganization, organize your financial life, and design a lifestyle and home environment that supports you in getting the results you really want.
Get her free ebook "100 Surefire Ways to Organize Your Busy Life!"