How to Set Up A Paper Filing System {For People Who Don’t Like to File!}

How to Set up a Simple Filing System for People Who Don't Like To File

I love the idea of papers being super organized. 

I drool over pretty organizers and colorful boxes. I adore patterned binders and color coded files. I love stickers and labels. But, I have a problem that has plagued me forever.

I have a fear of filing papers — or at least a very strong aversion to it. I have tried to be an organized-filing-kind-of-person my whole life. I really want to be a filer. They seem like such ‘together’ people.  I like pretty things, so I always thought the solution to my paperwork problem must be to just get pretty files and notebooks.

But no, pretty boxes alone won’t make your papers organized. I know this now.

filing boxes

file boxes or organizers in this post via See Jane Work {not affiliate links}

I have a couple of paper organizing plans that work pretty well for me, including my hallway magnetic board for urgent papers. I still love and use that board!

Nevertheless, there were still too many important papers I didn’t actually need immediately that were cluttering up the board.

I have an issue with “out of sight, out of mind.” I don’t like overstuffed file drawers. I don’t like paper cuts. So I don’t file.

Filing has always been my most dreaded organizing task. When I tried to follow other people’s instructions for how to set up a filing system, I got overwhelmed in the process. If you love to file, your brain must work differently than mine :-). Too many files and I shut down.

I should have just hired an office assistant who loves to file. Maybe I still will.

But meanwhile, I was determined to figure this out and conquer my problem once and for all.

Out of desperation and fear of being buried alive in paperwork, I finally sat down and mapped out my several file drawers in my office and designed easy filing systems I actually want to use!

Baby steps. That’s the key.

I think that is actually the secret to most successful routines I use at home for cleaning or organization. The more I simplify the process and take it just one step at a time, the more likely I am to actually keep up long term!

I’m SO excited to be conquering my fear of and aversion of filing once and for all. PRETTY boxes, notebooks and files are still essential to me since I’m all for creating a pretty ROOM, but the system inside has to be simple and practical.

file boxes

file boxes or organizers in this post via See Jane Work {not affiliate links}

Today at The Decluttered Home I’m sharing a first BABY STEP plan to paper organization and filing! Come find out how I set up the first drawer of my very simple file system for time sensitive papers AND tips for how to use it! If you too have an aversion to filing but want to start getting organized, this post just might help motivate you to get started! I’m pretty happy to finally have a plan that will work even for a file-challenged girl like me. I can’t to wait to share MORE of my new-found systems for organizing papers!

How to Establish Your Morning Routine {& why it is so important}

Morning Routine - Beautiful BathroomBHG

love having a morning routine. While I readily admit I’m not the most organized or scheduled person in the world (far from it), I do have a few simple routines that help me keep my house clean enough and get me through my busy life in a somewhat balanced manageable way without losing my mind (you may have read about some of my daily routines in my Four Daily Routines post).

While some more awesome women than me might be successful with an a elaborately lovely color coded chart or regimented system for their day, I can only handle very short lists and routines and need some flexibility in order to stay sane.

I believe in homemaking simplicity  because I know myself: I will lose interest or fail at anything too complicated, time consuming or elaborate. I’ve tried so many systems and never kept up with any of them. I’ve followed my four basic daily routines for at least 13 years (not perfectly every day but they have definitely been a part of our life!). I really tried to love detailed colorful housekeeping chore charts and file boxes with chore cards, I really really did, but the reality is I mostly just loved the idea of being THAT organized. I loved how pretty it was, too, rather than loving following what it said to do.

white kitchens morning routinesBHG

This will probably disqualify me from Homemaker of the Year if I ever wanted to apply, but the truth is (shhhhhhh) I would be more inspired to clean the toilets by simply planning a party for this weekend than I would be by being told by a chart that I had to clean toilets on a Tuesday morning. 

I may not feel like cleaning a toilet on a Tuesday.

But I DO want the toilets to be clean, that is a MUST for me. So if they need attention and I notice it, I’ll clean toilets right then and there (even without planning a party! YAY ME!). I will! I will make sure that every nook and cranny of that toilet is spotless. The toilets WILL get cleaned because I WANT them to be clean. And each toilet only requires a few minutes to be sparkly again so I can fit in that task as needed in my four daily routines.

Just don’t tell me I have to clean them on Tuesday or I probably would do them on a Monday and it would mess the whole week up. :-D

I have A LOT to do every day and I get a lot done between running a growing business, all the responsibility we have in managing a church, my family and household. But housekeeping is not something I can or want to spend a lot of time on. I LOVE LOVE LOVE a clean house and strive to keep our home clean (enough), but the tasks required need to fit into the time I want to devote to homemaking and I often need to be inspired to want to do them. Thus, I have my four daily routines to keep me focused and inspired.

How to Establish Your Morning Routine {& why it is so important}

Why is a morning routine so important to my day?

My routines give me hope and daily inspiration for a “clean enough house” as well as a great start on a productive day. They help me keep up with the house a little bit at a time, which makes every task seem manageable since nothing piles up too big.

But here is a very important aspect of my morning routine (and all my routines):  ENJOYING my routine is important to my emotional health and productivity. My morning routine sets the tone for the day. My routines are a pleasant part homemaking, not a dreaded part. Since I enjoy the morning routine, I can start out the day much happier and content with my life!

Honestly if I had to face a long list of dreaded chores on Tuesday morning like CLEAN THE TOILET and PULL HAIR OUT OF THE SHOWER DRAIN I probably would crawl back in under the covers and never come out. But maybe that’s just me. I have issues with boring tasks. I need a simple routine that is comforting, familiar and inspires my day (mixed in with a few routine tasks that must get done every day) so it is something I actually look forward to! Like coffee! I love the smell of coffee, I love the ritual of coffee. I don’t even really drink that much coffee, I just ENJOY that it is a part of my routine.

There is also something motivating about routine when it is manageable and you know you can succeed with it! We all probably have a morning routine even if we aren’t intentional with it, so if your morning routine isn’t contributing to the success and happiness of your day, time to do some editing!

Morning Routine - A clean kitchen sinkBHG

How much time does a morning routine require?

A  simple morning routine can be as quick as 10 – 30 minutes or as long as an hour or two. Pick a realistic morning routine for your schedule and make whatever adjustments are necessary to set yourself up for success in the morning.

We all have different schedules and morning expectations, but you can mix and match what tasks work for you to create your own daily routine! Obviously those of us who work outside the home or have children (or pets, eh hem!) who need our attention may have much different morning routines than those who have more free time at home. But don’t make excuses for why you can’t have a morning routine, even if you just get dressed, brush your teeth and wipe out your sink THAT is a morning routine most everyone should be able to manage and benefit from.

Organized for the day - Built in Desk

Set up a morning routine with three kinds of tasks:

1. Tasks you need to strive to complete every day to be productive, pulled together, energized and ready to dive in to the day’s work (like brush teeth, make the bed, shower, get dressed, have coffee, unload the dishwasher, have some quiet time, etc.)

2. A couple of tasks that you can catch up really quick depending on what needs attention or how much time you have that morning (tasks like doing a load of laundry or sweeping up the kitchen floor or wiping off the bathroom counter).

3. A thing or two you enjoy and look forward to (like coffee, or music or journaling or bible reading or praying, walking, catching up on blogs).

Even if you occasionally have to skip making the bed or have to run out the door without a shower, try to stick with your routine every single day as much as possible. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t feel natural at first or seems like a bother, it takes a month or so to get in the habit.

Soon you’ll start to look forward to your routine! Your day will start to feel less stressed and your home will be more in order! When I first started my morning routines and kept them for longer than a week my husband could hardly believe I was the same woman. :-).

Laundry - Morning Routine

So, what is MY basic morning routine? 

Brush teeth and wipe out sink (because I hate bad breath and icky sinks!).

Make the bed (because it lowers the chances of me from crawling back in, starts my day out with order and motivates me to keep the bedroom clean).

Open the blinds (I need to see daylight to feel energized!)

Turn off the porch lights (I turn them back on in the evening as a part of my nighttime routine!).

Make a cup of coffee (if you are a coffee lover, no explanation necessary!).

Quiet time (sometimes I switch the order with making the bed).

Unload dishwasher, put breakfast dishes in dishwasher and clean out sink (when I have a clean sink I am more likely to keep it clean all day).

Shower (it’s my thinking time!), throw in a load of laundry (set a timer to move it to the dryer), apply light makeup and dry hair (so I feel put together and ready for the day), get dressed (shoes and all because I am more productive when I don’t put my slippers on).

Move the laundry to dryer, set a time to remove and lay out clothes (we rarely iron anything since we take clothes out immediately and never pile clothes in a laundry basket).

Turn on computer. Start the work day! (because it not only pays our bills but because I LOVE my job!).

How to Establish a Morning Routine for a Clean Enough House - The Inspired Room

Want more ideas for being happier at home? Check out my New York Times best selling book, Love the Home You Have! You can order it online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Love the Home You Have - New York Times Best Seller - The Inspired Room

And my other book on organizing and simplfying, Make Room for What You Love!

Related Posts:

10 Minute Tasks to Organize Your Life (my article on eBay)

Speed Cleaning: Tips for Fast & Efficient Housekeeping

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