Pile Your Way To An Organized Office

You want to know where I spend most of my time when working with clients?  Sitting on the floor turning piles into files.  Here's a chance to see a paper mess through an organizer's eyes.  The pictures here illustrate a classic sequence of events for me.  In this case we were organizing scattered bank statements. If you're at a loss as to where to start your organizing project, start with financial docs.  They tend to be some of the easiest docs to sort, as the dates and accounts pretty much self-sort with minimal creative attention.  However, you can apply this simple piling to filing example on a document stash of any sort.  Organizing really can be as simple as this:

Step 1: Get it all out in the open if it isn't already, gathering papers from all corners of the office or house.

Step 2: Using nothing but stickies and a sharpie pen, line up the piles on the floor. Here we sorted by account, chronologically within each pile.

Step 3:  Place each pile in a folder!  Label with the year and account name or account number.

7 Day Inspired Office Challenge

In order to go from paper chaos to elegantly organized files, you have to get through the in-between phase.  Use your floor space to create piles that will each turn into files once complete.  This takes only a few simple tools: stickies, marker, clean file folders, and white labels.  Start with your most basic categories, such as banking, paid bills or household files.