Managing Paper Clutter Overwhelm

paper clutter

Paper clutter can be a serious impediment to productivity.

Do you have paper piles building up on your desk?

Is paper clutter making it difficult to locate a piece of paper quickly?

Paper clutter management is a common issue and something that many people struggle with every day. It is not surprising considering we live in a world where we are inundated with paper and information coming at us in many different forms.

With the end of the year closing in, now is a great time to get your paperwork sorted, organized and systemized. You may feel that paper clutter is overwhelming – however, by following a few simple steps, you’ll find it’s easier than you think.

  • Bite Size Stacks: Don’t sort through your paper all at once – this can feel overwhelming.  Instead, spend 15-30 minutes every day sorting small, bite-size stacks of paper. Set a timer to help you manage your time.
  • Relocate: Take a stack of paperwork to a different room or outside to do your sorting. Sometimes stepping away from the paper piles makes it less overwhelming.
  • The Rule of Four: Sort paper into four groups – recycle, shred, file, and to-do. And make sure you use all four piles!
  • Let it Go: Only keep documents you need to refer to again or need for tax purposes. Recycle or shred everything else. Don’t bother keeping papers you know you won’t refer to later, especially if you can find it easily somewhere else.  According to a study conducted by The Leader-Post newspaper, 80% of what we file never gets looked at again.
  • File it: Create an easy-to-use filing system that works for YOU! Set a day each month to do your filing all at once and purge documents from your files on an annual basis.
  • Keep it Simple: The easier the system – the easier it is to use and maintain.

Managing paper clutter is an important part of running a business. Every minute you spend looking for a piece of paper costs you time and money. Setting up systems that work well for your business will help lower stress and increase productivity.

So why not start now? What is ONE thing you can do TODAY to get you started on your paper-organizing journey?' About Melissa Stacey

Melissa Stacey with Feeling Organized specializes in organization for your home, office, and small business. She works with each client to create a unique system that's geared toward their specific needs, lifestyle, and/or work style. Some of Melissa’s expertise includes filing systems, paper management, closet spaces, offices, and work flow. As a WIC Board member, Melissa oversees WIC’s finances, silent auction, and sponsorship initiatives.


  1.' Paper Documents says

    Great post! Been reading a lot about how to handle all the paper in my office. Thanks for all the info!

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