HDYDI: Staying on Top of the Paper Monster

Oh, if only you could see my office right now.

Hot. Mess.

Hey, it happens to all of us. We have a great system in place and then, life happens. I do a decent job of staying on top of paperwork at our house. When I use the systems I have in place, my office is a thing of beauty. And, when I fall off the wagon, I always know it must be because we’ve been busy living life.

When it’s a disaster, I like to say, “but look at all the fun we’ve been having!”

Time to get back on the organized horse. Here’s a few systems we have and hopefully, maybe, they’ll help you. Giddyup.

1. Make it accessible. We installed a magnet board in our renovated laundry room. It houses important coupons, school paperwork and invitations. It’s super convenient because we see it every time we leave the house. If I can remember to put it up there, I rarely forget it!

laundry room_048

2. Make it pretty. About a year ago, a friend of mine was selling cute personalized totes and I knew just the space – and the saying – I wanted for mine. Enter, the cutest standing file folder container. Ever. Meet Mrs. Organized, y’all. She has five folders: Checks, File, Kids, Medical, Receipts. There’s a snapshot into our life if ever there was one. Yours might be different, but we use this as a holding cell for all the filing to-do’s. These used to be in flat files, but I just ended up with a ridiculously high stack of papers to sort. Now, they’re in five easy categories and I tackle filing them when I get a few moments here and there.

  • Client checks go in the first
  • Bills/paperwork/etc. that needs to be Filed
  • Anything that goes in the Kids’ school boxes (best project I ever did!)
  • All the EOBs (explanation of benefits, bills, etc.) goes in Medical
  • Any Receipt from something that is returnable (you’d be surprised at what you can return if you have the original receipt!)

I typically do a big file once a month of all these papers and I’ve found it saves me tons of time than filing everytime something comes in the door. Plus, we’ve really cut back our paper bills and I’ve gotten super serious about purging it before it ever hits the Mrs. Organized box. Please forgive the horrendous lighting. It’s what happens when you take pictures at 10pm!

files, blog_004

3. Make it functional. For now, the kids share a desk. I don’t think we’ll be doing that much longer, but in the interim we have a box just for the kids’ school paperwork. So, any critical, “don’t lose this paper” assignments go in this box. Each child has a folder and I typically empty them out once a month. You’d be amazed at what my kids squirrel away. Actually, more like horrified. Moving on…

desk, blog

4. Make it easy. Our main filing cabinet is, wait for it, color-coded. I know you’re shocked. Long ago I set the colors and they’ve proved to be keepers. I think this system has been in place the longest, a good 12 years! If ever you need some organized space inspiration, I love me some iHeart. Jen recently featured her office filing cabinet. Those labels! Those colors! I know, it’s a sickness. I’ll stop. It might be painful in the beginning, but y’all, it will save your filing headaches. Pinky promise.

5. Make it comprehensive. Two years ago, I purchased some printables from the iHeartOrganizing Etsy store and I really do love them. We have a household binder, that’s customized to our needs. It’s fabulous that many of my “go-to” documents are all in one place. But, it’s time to have her make me a new cover, Gianna’s name is missing! Sidenote: she puts all her printables on sale on Cyber Monday every year. That’s when I bought all mine!

binder, blog_006And, that’s how we corral the paper monster. Happy filing!


  1. Jen on October 1, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Thank you Kathryn! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all of the paper and disorganization right now. Thank you for the practical tips and inspiration! I’m ready to tackle the paper monster now. 🙂

  2. Marjorie on October 1, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Love how organized you are! We have similar systems in our house (I’m a little OCD).

    Thanks for the the sale tip for IHeartOrganizing. I just purchased a $38 organizer. Could have saved by creating a binder with her printables.

  3. Verdina on October 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Once again, I’m amazed! I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!

    God bless!

  4. Heidi on October 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Where did you get that adorable magnetic board? If you made it, please share how you did it. I have been searching for something pretty to put in our command center.

    • Kathryn on October 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      The company is no longer in business, but I found it on Etsy. Try searching “magnetic boards” – that’s how I found that one!

  5. Elise on October 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I just love your organizational methods, gal. You go! And thank you for sharing!

  6. Heather on October 2, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    LOVE it! Man…I have got to do some serious work on our filing system…

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.