Climbing the Mountain of Paperwork

This week’s Life Well Lived question is:

How do you organize paperwork both online and off? Share your tip(s) to managing physical and digital clutter!

Be sure to visit BlogHer’s main post on the topic and add your comments. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to enter the current Life Well Lived sweepstakes.

I will be honest. Stuff tends to pile up on my desk. Thankfully, my brokerage has a really great digital document storage system to help me keep that stuff organized properly.

File folders are great things. Heck, folders in general are great things. It makes it a lot easier to keep related items together: bills to be paid, receipts, tax documents, Christmas cards, appliance manuals, whatever. When you’re done, it goes into a filing cabinet where it’s easy to find right up until the day you don’t need it any more and can shred it. Pro-tip: label folders with a fine point marker or permanent ink pen and do your best to make it easy to read.

This still leaves a pile on the corner of my desk that I must go through and ruthlessly prune about once a month.

I organize email with folders too. A folder called “Receipts 2012″ contains exactly what you think it does. Maybe there’s one called “Smith” that has all my correspondence with a client named Mr. Smith. It also contains scans of his documents and emails back and forth to the title company. And once my transaction with Mr. Smith is done, the whole folder gets archived.

I’d like to say my hard drive is that well organized. Thank goodness OSX does a lot of this stuff automatically: apps end up in the “Applications” folder without too much effort on my part. “Downloads” go into the right folder unless I specifically save it elsewhere — and yes I periodically have to purge that folder.

So that’s my tip. No fancy organizers beyond a vertical file holder on my desk and a filing cabinet in my home office. Cheap and easy to implement.

In Closing: Jon Lovitz 3, anti-Semite teenagers 0; 6000 Japanese vocabulary words; War on Drugs is a failure; drone on; life in space may have come from Earth; security theatre; no kidding; follow up on unlicensed doctors; tornado alley is bigger, climate change deniers blame almost anything but climate change; over 1 in 5 health care dollars spent is because of obesity; and no, it’s not illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Nevada! It’s illegal to use one without a hands free device.

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