In this series on organizing paper, we’ll explore deeper paper organizing issues and ways you can overcome your personal issues with paper.
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Organizing Paper - Part 2 - The Issue of Emotional Attachment
The Importance of Choosing Quality Paper Organizing Tools
Most people severely underestimate how the tools they use affect the way they feel about organizing. I know because I used to be one of those people, too. I honestly believed spending money on organizing tools was a waste of money so I had quite a collection of cheap, flimsy, and downright ugly organizing tools - and in some cases, none at all. It’s true. I was just like a lot of my clients!
I had a rickety old file cabinet with drawers you could barely open. And a crate that sat on a shelf for overflow (see Before photo). And they were so overstuffed you could not fit another piece of paper in them. As a result, I would end up with piles of paper on top of the filing cabinet and all around my office. Then when I needed something, I’d go crazy looking through all those piles.
When I finally realized the situation would not get better on it’s own, I had to get over my fear of wasting money and invest in quality organizing tools I really liked using. (See After photo below) It honestly my life changed.
Dealing with my paper became so much easier, neater, simpler and less stressful. Today I often hear people say things like “I don’t need my files to be colorful or neat. It doesn’t bother me”. Funny thing is, those are the same people who are overwhelmed with paper and hate filing.
The truth is they simply aren’t aware of how much it’s bothering them. Once we design a simple paper organizing system with quality tools they actually enjoy using, they are genuinely shocked at how easy it can be and how good it feels to keep up with their paperwork.
Choosing to put up with tools we don’t like is sometimes a money issue, but often it’s a reflection of how you feel about organizing in general. Sometimes it’s a reflection of how you feel about your ability to organize as well. Sometimes it’s just because no one ever told you what a huge difference it can make in your life! So now you know. If you hate to file, take a good hard look at the supplies and tools you are using. Ask yourself how you could make your system more attractive to use. You might be surprised at the answers you come up with!
Don’t be Afraid to Use Your Supplies!
A really interesting phenomenon I encounter frequently is people who fear “wasting” file folders. They buy a box of file folders and then expect it to last forever. They actually feel that creating a file for every new project or need they have is a waste!
Some people think spending money on colorful file folders they really like is also a waste of money. Meanwhile, they are living and working in paper chaos that is ruining their health and costing them hundreds of dollars in late fees when they don’t pay their bills on time.
Investing in quality file folders and other paper organizing supplies is actually an investment in your own well-being – but only if you USE them! Don’t worry about using them up…that would be a good thing. It would mean that you are taking the time to make your paper easy to find when you need it!
A box of colorful file folders is only about 8$ a box. A movie ticket costs more than that! So what is the real issue? The real issue is that you need to believe that being organized and being able to find the paper you need is not a waste of time, money or supplies. Your peace of mind is worth it.
Also see these articles I've written on Organizing Paper
- Neat & Simple Tips for Preventing School Paper Clutter!
- How to Organize & Take Charge of the Paper In Your Life
- 10 Most Common Filing Mistakes
- Scanning: See my review of NeatReceipts Scanalizer
- Scanning: See a review of Fujitsu ScanSnap
- Organizing Paper with Binders
Copyright © 2007 Ariane Benefit
If you would like to reprint this article on your blog or other publication please email or call for permission and send me a link to how it appears. Also be sure to include my bio as shown below. Thanks!
Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed, Organizing Consultant is the founder of Neat & Simple professional organizers. She specializes in helping people create the homes & offices of their dreams! As an organizing coach, she guides people in clarifying priorities and making the difficult decisions needed to conquer clutter, change habits, and take charge of their lives. She is also the author of the popular home office organizing book, "The Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Home Office."