Challenge Day 31: Tame Floating Paper with an Action File

Paper Piles

Is your dining room table a magnet for stray papers?

With piles ranging from incoming mail to children's homework, the dining table can quickly become buried.

How to tame them? Try an action file!

A sort-and-drop solution to paper clutter, an action file makes it easy to store and organize stray papers.

Today's Assignment
Tame Floating Paper with an Action File

Paper piles can be pernicious--and when they start piling up on your dining room table, it's easy for important items to go missing.

At bottom? The problem is homelessness. Whether it's daily mail or children's artwork, papers that have no home will sprawl out on any space available--where they tend to reproduce like rabbits. Soon the dining room table is covered with stacks and piles of stray paperwork.

An action file creates a simple solution to the problem of homeless paper. An action file is a set of hanging file folders designed to sort and organize incoming paper, fast. Whether you clear a section of a dedicated file drawer, or invest in a simple tabletop file box, you'll want to add these folders to your action file:

  • To Do
  • To Pay
  • To Decide
  • To File

Next, add a folder for each family member, by name. The goal is to create a simple sort-and-drop destination for incoming paper.

How to use the action file? Here comes the day's mail! A couple of bills are tossed into To Pay, and an invitation requiring an RSVP lands in the To Do folder.

If you're in the market for a new mattress, that department store sale circular makes it to To Decide for further review.

A tax form from your employer is prime candidate for To File, while a card from your child's grandmother goes into the child's name file.

Home from work with a stack of papers? Same drill: file each according to whether it's something you need to do, file, or decide about.

When it's time to pay bills and handle desk work, it's easy to work file by file--and with a dedicated home, you've tamed the problem papers. Simple!

Get more information about simple, effective household file systems:

The ABCs of Household Paper Management