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Simplify My Life Challenge – Organise Paperwork

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Paperwork – love it or loathe it, it’s one of those things every household tends to have, unless you’ve taken the leap for a paperless household. Probably not. Paperwork is one of those things that just seems to build up over time and become a disorganised mess quick smart.

Most homes end up with a drawer, a box, a shelf or some other area that is somewhat of a paperwork storage space, with no great system in place. It makes it hard when the time comes to find something important we need.


Earlier this month we looked at tackling the clutter of the home office and getting that room back into good shape, so it seems like a perfect time to now organise paperwork, since that tends to be one of the messiest areas of the home office.

3 Steps to Organise Paperwork

And even if you don’t have a home office, you probably still need some work on how to organise paperwork anyway. By putting a bit of a system in place, and making sure to cull the unnecessary stuff, your paperwork will be organised and easy to access in no time.

1. Start by culling what you don’t need

Make sure not to dispose of anything important that you may need at a later time. Remember certain records need to be maintained for a minimum period, so the best option is to refresh your knowledge of these guidelines document guidelines from your government website.

2. Sort paperwork

Sort everything into a system that suits your needs. This may be as simple as short term and long term documents, or a more complex system where you organise paperwork by type. Below are some suggestions:

  • Bank statements
  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Tax documents
  • Insurance
  • School documents
  • Mortgage/home
  • Medical records
  • Instruction manuals
  • Other – cards, invitations, kids artwork etc

3. Create a system

You may already have the resources for this, such as a filing cabinet, a filofax or another area to keep your paperwork organised. If you are using a drawer or box, consider using manilla folders or plastic sleeves to organise the different types of paperwork within the space.

Alternatively you may want to organise paperwork by year or financial year if you prefer. This is helpful for tax and business related expenses especially and may be ideal if you have large lots of different types of paperwork to organise.

Bonus Tip – There are many areas you can cut down on paperwork these days now that so much is available online. Some examples of these are:

  • Bank statements
  • Medical records
  • Brochures and catalogues

You can also minimise sentimental paperwork if you want to cut down by scanning or photographing things such as children’s artwork. Consider creating a photo book full of these childhood creations to give to them when they are older. This is a good way of decluttering your life a little too.

Another part of the process to organise paperwork is to have a good disposal system for personal documents, such as investing in a home shredder to ensure your personal information is kept safe.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Simplify My Life challenge tasks to help you organise, declutter and simplify your life from head to toe, whether you want to join a couple of tasks or all of them, you can do it at your own pace. But make sure you let me know how you’re going because I’d love to hear.

Do you have a paperless system in place for any of your usual paperwork?


Monday 17th of August 2015

A shredder was one of the best things I ever bought! I used to spend hours on filing each month...but now most stuff is available electronically (and filed that way) OR is not really needed, and can be shredded. It is very liberating to just shred and toss. I keep one pocket folder for each family member for each year - special or sentimental documents (invitations, certificates, programs etc) go straight into that.


Wednesday 19th of August 2015

Your system sounds fantastic. So light & organised. A shredder is a great option. I visit mum for shredding but it's definitely an important part of paperwork disposal!


Saturday 15th of August 2015

It's so easy to fall into those bad habits and then spend an hour trying to find something important because of it. Oops!


Saturday 15th of August 2015

So many of us are guilty of it. I have a tray that piles up but have since emptied my filing cabinet to improve my ways ;) it will save time & mess in the long run.

Kirsty @ My Home Truths

Wednesday 12th of August 2015

Having a system is so important. We have a set of filing drawers but where I fall down is not filing as I go - hence I end up with piles of paper and hours of sorting. I need to just do it as I go!


Saturday 15th of August 2015

Me too. Once I sort the current pile, hopefully I will keep on top of it lol just have to teach the hubby to do the same!


Tuesday 11th of August 2015

I am a big believer of creating a system haha Great post!



Wednesday 12th of August 2015

Systems definitely make things easier in the long run. Less stress too when you can find what you need easily. I still remember growing up mum had a draw full of paperwork and if they needed something urgently, the whole pile got tipped on the floor and the hunt began haha