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How to avoid paperwork overwhelm

Do you have piles of paperwork lying around, but sorting everything out feels overwhelming or just too hard?

If so, my advice would be to start small. Pick one (small) pile and go through it methodically. Sort the paperwork into categories - banking, car related, utilities, school-related etc, ideally in date order with the most recent at the top of the pile.

Don't forget to shred or recycle paperwork you don't need or have copies of (if you're going to recycle don't forget to remove any account numbers/names/addresses from the paperwork first). Then file this away in your filing cabinet or drawer.

This can be a surprisingly quick job - 10/15 minutes can often be enough. Once you've done it once, you'll find it so much easier to sort out the next pile and then the next, until it has all been done.

Top tip - don't rush this - if you try and do it all in one go, you'll most likely start to feel overwhelmed and won't carry on. Take your time - a pile a day, or a pile a week, whatever is realistic for you.

If having a place to file the paperwork is the stumbling block - either because you don't have anywhere to file full stop, or because your existing system is too full - then tackle this first.

If you need a filing cabinet or drawer to file everything in, look at the physical space you have available to you - under your desk, in the cupboard under the stairs, etc. Then look online and pick a cabinet, filing drawers, concertina file - whatever works for you, and get that set up (Bisley do great filing drawers or cabinets: or you if you've got shelf space and want to push the boat out, these boxes are fantastic:

Once you have your filing system in place, go back to step 1 above and file your paperwork into your new system!

If your filing existing space is too full, go through each file or drawer one by one. As above, shred anything you no longer need and make sure everything is filed in date order - most recent paperwork at the top. Then go back to step 1.

If you’ve read this and still feel overwhelmed, don’t panic! There are lots of people out there (including me!) who can sort out your paperwork for you - either they can come to your home and do it for you, or in some cases all you need to do is give them your paperwork.

They will take it away and sort it out for you, handing it back in neatly labelled files or wallets ready for you to put away.

If you need help or advice with any of the above, do get in touch.


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