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Indy organizers put paper in order

I try to keep my home office organized, but I still have papers - articles, recipes and important mail - laying around in three different rooms. What can I do? — Angie's List member Kathy Sain

"Paper clutter is one of my clients' biggest complaints," says Lori Watson, owner of highly rated Anyone & Everything Organized LLC in Carmel, Ind. "People tend to keep more than they need, so it's important to pare it down to exactly what you need on a regular basis." If you've never prepared that recipe, toss it out, she suggests. If you've held on to a magazine for a particular article, clip it and store it in a binder. Categorize and file important items like financial records. "An efficient filing system is vital," Watson says. "It shouldn't take more than a couple minutes to retrieve something you need."

Dana Carney, owner of highly rated Organizing Indy in Indianapolis, suggests designating a central location for all incoming paperwork and handling it quickly. "Throw away junk immediately and try to file incoming paper where it needs to go," she says. Carney also recommends unsubscribing from unwanted catalogs or magazines, and opting out of direct marketing mailers to reduce your overall paper volume.

If your parchment predicament is still overwhelming, consider hiring a professional organizer. Carney estimates fees can vary widely from $40 to $100 per hour. Watson recommends checking an organizer's references and specialties, and hiring someone certified by the National Association of Professional Organizers (napo.net) or a similar organization.


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