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Why organize your paperwork? Organizing your paperwork clears piles of paper cluttering your space, helps you find information efficiently, keeps you on top of bills and to-dos, and avoids late fees, missed deadlines, and wasting time. Organize your paperwork to reduce stress, have a clear mind and focus on what matters.

The first step toward fully organized paperwork is to sort. When we are clearing someone’s desk, we use the RAFTS system: Recycle, Action, File, Trash/Treasure, and Shred.

Recycle

Any paperwork you no longer need that doesn’t contain sensitive information can be recycled. This includes things like advertisements, takeout menus, old Post-It notes, or junk mail.

Action

Action items are anything that needs your attention, like a bill to pay or a letter to reply to, or phone calls to return.

File

Paperwork that contains things you will need later should be filed. Statements, school records, and policy documents fit into this category. I recommend getting electronic copies first to skip the paper step.

Trash/Treasure

Go through your paperwork and decide what’s worth keeping, and what’s worth letting go. You can store Christmas cards from family in a keepsake box, but if you’re holding on to something you can’t remember receiving, consider recycling or trashing it to minimize clutter.

Shred

Anything with account numbers, social security numbers, or other non-public information that you no longer need should be shredded. You don’t have to shred items with your name and address because that’s public information.

Once everything has been sorted and filed, you’ll be left with your action items, and much less paperwork!

Action Items Article

Ready to start organizing your paperwork? Check out our Virtual Organizing services!