So, even though I am a pretty organized gal, I was getting tired of some of the clutter in my (very small) office space. One thing that I could never seem to do was keep papers from piling on my desktop.

The reason became pretty clear to me, and I’m sure it is a common problem for lots of people. These were current-ish papers which didn’t have a clear “home” in my file cabinets. The reason for this homelessness? The mish-mash included:

  • business cards and brochures from recent events
  • various notes from meetings and phone calls
  • little “to-do” items (like an address label ripped from an envelope for correcting in Outlook and a packing slip from an item I needed to return via mail)
  • business and programming ideas
  • things that I need to hold temporarily
  • things I need to make decisions about
  • things that represented possible opportunities for my business
  • things I want to scan for my “electronic” files
  • papers I want to put into my file cabinets
  • along with other small, random reminders of various levels of importance/urgency

The problem with having all this in a big pile? First of all the visual clutter and workspace this was all taking up. Ugh. Secondly, having to shuffle through the whole pile to find a specific note when I needed it. Thirdly, the unimpeded growth of the pile, which could (technically) reach as high as it could balance before toppling over.

So, I finally have a solution – a hybrid pile/file horizontal paper sorter:

Paper Sorter

The advantage of this is that it is inherently a temporary holding place with just enough different categories that most anything that comes to my desk can just as quickly be put into its proper drawer rather than added to an unwieldy stack. These smaller “piles” are also much faster to sort through when I am looking for something specific, and I don’t need to keep shuffling past things which I have already made decisions about.

When I have some time to “File” or “Electronic File”, all the papers are together and ready to go. When I have a few minutes free, I can grab something out of my “Quick To-dos” drawer. When I am ready to focus on business strategy, all my recent notes and papers are available quickly. And, I can easily schedule some time to go through the “Decisions” and “Opportunities” drawers to see if I am ready to move on any of those things now.

Another great thing – these drawers are only so deep – once one fills to capacity, I know I need to stop and clear it out.

I set this system up last week, and so far so good – the only papers that ever sit on my desktop are ones I am working on at the moment. Fantastic!

I purchased my stackable drawers at a local Container Store, unfortunately, I couldn’t find my exact drawers on their website. Here are two similar items, though:

Stackable Desktop Drawers

Stackable Desktop Paper Sorter