3-point plan to put paper in its place

3-point plan to put paper in its place

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

Don't get discouraged, says Amber Kostelny-Cussen, owner of highly rated Amber's Organizing LLC in Chicago. "This is one of the things I work on most often," she says. "Almost every homeowner has trouble managing paper, but you can get better at it as you pursue it."

She says the key is to stay focused and keep it constantly under control. "Put all your paper in one room, and stick within that boundary," she says. "Get a filing system that will help rein it all into one system, such as FileSolutions [a color-coded filing system]. I would recommend relying more on the Internet when she needs something like a recipe instead of keeping paper around in hopes of using it later." She says hiring a professional organizer to help out should cost between $50 and $100.

Karli Bertocchi, owner of highly rated Organized with Style in Chicago, recommends a three-point plan of action:

  1. Dedicate one place in your home for paperwork, which should have a garbage can, a shredder and somewhere to store files.
  2. Go digital whenever possible by accessing statements online and scanning recipes and articles you want to keep.
  3. File what remains in a filing cabinet or three-ring binders dedicated to each category.

She suggests keeping only important papers which require action, have legal or financial purposes, or are needed for reference.

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