How to Sort Papers (Paper Organizing Tips Part 1 of 2)

How to Sort Papers (Paper Organizing Tips Part 1 of 2)

Hi everyone. I’m Alejandra from
and in this video, I’m going to show you how to organize and sort papers that you have
in drawers, on the floor, wherever your stacks of paper are. We’re going to go through
one stack and I’m going to show you how easy it is to go through, sort things out
and feel more in control of your paperwork. But first, if this is your first time watching
any of my videos and you are just getting started with organizing, you can check out my free video series on three tasks to do tonight to wake up feeling more organized
tomorrow. There’s a link below. All right. So when it comes to piles of paperwork,
it can be daunting to go through and figure out what is what, especially if paper has
been accumulating for weeks, months or even years. Whatever the reason why you have so
many piles, we’re just going to go through one pile and just address it and I’m going
to show you that it’s really easy to do. So you can stop procrastinating, feel less
overwhelmed and feel like you have a place to start. So I have a drawer right here and we are going
to – it’s filled with papers and we’re just going to take one stack of paper and
we’re just going to get started. So your job, if you have a stack of papers,
just go through. Grab one stack. Pause this video, grab the stack, come back, hit Play
and then we will just do this together. All right. So I have a stack right here and
what we’re going to do to show you that this is really easy and this is manageable
and you can do this tonight, we’re going to set a timer and instead of seeing how long
this takes us, what we’re going to do is we are going to count down from five minutes.
I don’t think it’s going to take longer than five minutes. But we’re going to set
a timer for five minutes and we’re going to race against the clock to keep us accountable
to just staying focused to this pile right here. All right. So I’m going to hit Play in a
second. Take your stack and what we’re going to do is we’re going to sort like with like.
I don’t know what the categories are right now but once we start creating piles, if we
start to get confused, we’re going to take a sticky note, take a marker and label our
pile with whatever the category is. If you don’t want to waste a sticky note,
grab a scrap paper from the recycling bin and do the same thing. All right. So ready,
set, go. So just look at the first thing. Figure out
what it is and then put it in the pile. Then as we make progress, we’re going to label
our piles, if we feel like we’re getting confused on what goes where. So all these different piles I’m creating
are all different categories. This goes with this pile. This goes with this pile. This
goes with this pile. So the most important pile that you are going to create is your
action pile. Your action pile is anything that requires you to do something. So it’s
like a bill to pay, someone to call, something to cancel, something to apply for, something
to submit, something that requires you to do something. So this is an actionable thing.
So that’s my action pile. This is actionable. So we have already made so much progress and
it has only been one minute. This is so great and as you begin to – you know, you’re
sorting piles. You’re seeing your big stack of papers go down and this is like instant
accomplishment or instant gratification because it’s like wow, we’re making so much progress.
This is easy. I can’t believe I’ve been procrastinating this for so long and it just
makes you just feel good and productive. All right. This is all actionable stuff. OK.
It has been almost two minutes and – where And, where does this go? This goes right here. All right.
So that took not even two minutes to do and I sorted a whole stack of papers. That was
not the whole drawer. There’s still more stuff in here. But it’s progress. It’s
all about making progress. It’s not about trying to start and finish everything in one
organizing session. It’s about making progress, whether it’s baby steps or tackling everything.
It’s about making progress. All right. So everything is sorted here and
like I said, if you get confused or you start to get confused when you’re sorting, take
a sticky note or a piece of scrap paper and write down the name of your category. So right
here, I just wrote “fridge”. So I’m sorting a bunch of warranties and manuals
for a new house and so there are things for the fridge. So I would just take this and
I will put that on the fridge category right there. So when I’m sorting, I can see what pile
is what because it starts to get confusing the more piles you have. All right. So that
was that. Your most important pile like I said is your action pile, so anything that
requires you to take action and do something. It’s your most important pile. In the next
video, I’m going to show you how to set up a system for all your actionable documents
because those are your important things. Everything is important but these require
you to do something. So that’s in an upcoming video. Again, this is not the whole organizing
process. But this is the first step to sorting out paperwork if you have a lot of piles.
I hope you found this video helpful. Again, if you feel overwhelmed, grab a small pile.
Get started. Do this tonight. Do it while you’re watching TV. Put music on. Just get
started. It doesn’t matter how far behind you are. What matters most is how fast you
can pick yourself back up and get back on track. So I hope you found this video helpful. If
this is your first time watching any of my videos, you can subscribe for more videos
on getting organized or check out my website for more tools and training on
living a more organized and productive life. Thanks for watching and I will see you soon.

100 thoughts on “How to Sort Papers (Paper Organizing Tips Part 1 of 2)

  1. Hi Alejandra,
    Where did you get the timer you're using. I really like that one. I already have the one with the red in it. I didn't see it on your gadget page!

  2. great! really like the huminity, no perfection, i sort papers for others and this vid motivates me as well as those poor creatures that dump everything everywhere and are devastated

  3. It's great to see you back! I've missed your videos. =) I hope you can do more of the budget organizing ideas videos. But any from you is always great. =)

  4. Hi Alejandra! I am a pretty unorganized person by nature (which is why I subscribe to your channel). My problem is that I do not know how to categorize my papers. That is, how broad and inclusive should each file be? When I make my files too broad, I cannot find specific documents, but if I make very narrowly defined files, I have hundreds and hundreds of files (I work in an information-heavy field with a lot of academic articles). Help! Drowning in stacks of papers…🆘 📂 😢

  5. I have three trash bags of papers. it's overwelming. I am thinking about grabbing the barbequer, and burn it. I also have journals as to do list and receipts . I've went through two shredders. Them both burned out from all the paper I fed through it. Bit thanks for the tips though.

  6. I love every one of your videos, this is so great, i learned alot and it sure helped me and still helping me to be more organized, thank you dear friend

  7. Does anyone else watch her videos to make yourself fall asleep? Not they are boring but for some reason I get sleepy

  8. I plan on getting started today after I empty and clear out my closet and reorganize it. I have 3 bins and a box of paperwork…. I moved back in December and haven't gotten to it yet…. I'm going to make a Shred pile too…..

  9. I have papers every where.
    I swear they all say "important keep for your records" and I don't know whether to believe them or not.😔

  10. I found, that the easiest way to sort is what I call splitting. If you have 1 giant pile create only 2 very broad categories, for example a finance and a nonfinance category. then every year or so split one of the existing category into 2 further categories, like finance into tax and nontax. And just lay the piles on a flat surface, not stack them vertically, so most recent stuff go to to the top of the pile.

  11. Now you have many small piles on your counter. I think most people are confused as what the next step is actually. If they do not have a filing cabinet yet.

  12. the thing I find with starting small is I kind of hit a wall with the domino effect: i cant sort mail if my filing system is crap. i cant sort my laundry properly before i create more wardrobe space in my bedroom (i just move to an attic apt so sorting the wardeobe options out is something ive been putting off)

  13. I watch al these organize videos but I know deep inside no matter how many cute supplies i will by I will never be organized in my entire life

  14. Inspiring me everyday to take baby steps to getting organized :)) I live in a small duplex with little storage any tips for making storage in smaller living?

  15. do you not know you're getting tired and you don't look professional at all you should quit and get your fucking self much more professional

  16. When your stack of papers is about seven times the size of hers. LOL! Haha. One step at a time though.. ) Love Alejandra and her videos! ~Discovered her channel through Inside Edition's "Most organized home in America" video and I'm so glad I did.. 🙂

  17. Ughhhhh ……my mail comes in envelopes…junk mail…magazines. Ur one pile was previewed , minus all of the above. I think ur ideas are good but I wish u can use a friend who has piles of paper work. 😝. …no I 'm serious

  18. Organizing papers is a sinch for the average person who does not take their work home. Try doing that when you happen to be a teacher. It's an all day project classifying and organizing binder after binder of worksheets, lesson plans, administration stuff etc.

  19. Alejandra! You are my spirit animal lol I used to be so organized but since going to college full time and getting married it has gone down the drain. THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING ME TO GET IT TOGETHER!

  20. Hi Alejandra,

    I have a question for you and it's not related to this video so I hope you don't mind.

    I'm organising my memorabilia and was wondering how you would keep the paper/card label from moving/sliding around in the metal label holder on a cardboard storage box? It's bugging me!

    Thanks in advance 🙂 x

    P.S. I would love to see a video on how you organise your memorabilia 🙂

  21. Zi do like you Alejandra as a person, but you can not teach me anything I do not already know, I just use logic when I am sorting my styff, you are waisting my time really so I am out of here…..

  22. Thank you for sharing this video. One question, how can I ensure that pile of papers with over 200 names are placed in alphebetical order really fast. I am intending to work in a law firm.

  23. I appreciate how you set the timer in order to encourage time accountability. Thank you for the video!

  24. It seems very odd to me, to begin an empty house with papers in the drawer. Does someone live there, or did you just move in? It looks vacant; ready for viewing. Once you get some pictures up, plants, and more tinkers around, it'll be far more homely and lived-in, not so empty and cold looking. I had that too when I first moved in, bit now I have my things, it feels cosier – although I don't have papers in the drawers yet!

  25. I just move and couldn't figure out how to organize my papers and office, but I'm so glad I found your channel! You are amazing!

  26. This was helpful but I did chuckle a little bit when she started to get out of breath from sorting papers 😂

  27. I have ADD I also have fibro/chiari & no matter how hard I try I can't find a system that works for me….my house is indated with piles of papers and bins of papers, stuff from 3 houses ago I'm always afraid to let go of like closing documents, I do not have time to scan or shred and I cant follow a specific schedule bcuz there is no way for me to predict how I will feel….i also live in a house with 1 dog, 2 guinea pigs, 2 boys ages 9/12 & one husband who will spend his time anywhere but in the house probably because of my anxiety!?!? I just look at each room and get so overwhelmed I have so many things going on I never know where to makes me more anxious…ive got probably 15 -20 reusable shopping bags with all kinds of things in them schoolwork, old bills, vitamins to makeup to toiletries. My husband said I'm bordering a hoarder, I take offense to that stmt simply because he has no idea how i struggle having hyper mind but body and fatigue set me back…im at a constant level of anxiety and can't afford to hire anyone to help me but I want to simply my life but its HARD when u are sick and the only one who can actually do it…i did it 2 yrs ago, every room and have had alot of unfortunate events in my life that set me back tremendously….please any advice so appreciated. Thank u for keeping your videos short and to the point. Breaking them down helps someone like me….

  28. You're so motivating and very good at helping us (me) not get stuck in a guilt phase. What you say at the end is just the best! I've seen this a few times and I have the PPP and I'm always coming back to watch again & again. You're relatableness is so refreshing, thank you!

  29. Yes finally organizing paper has been of my chore list cuz my son bring home like 20 papers from school a day

  30. Yes, sorting is key, stick notes is a must to remember quickly what paper goes where.
    This is how I start.
    Thanks …. Your amazing

  31. Tip:
    If you are timing yourself, you can feel under pressure causing you to rush through and not do a great job

  32. Would have been helpful to know how you were determining the piles – what are they? Ex. bills, you did mention warranties, banking, tax etc.

  33. I don't think you should have a random pile of papers in the first place, but put them in appropriate compartment as soon as the paper arrives in the house. (But yes, they may somehow appear anyway…)

  34. Hi Alejandra. This is an issue for me . I can see alot of papers and containers and magazines and little index cards with stuff written on it ,folders, to dos, bills, reminders(all in a mish mash on one corner of my table.) Plus I need help with getting it together. This idea of taking out one small pile and sorting thru (just that pile at a given time) makes it seem more doable. yes I have sorted thru paper (and mixed in stuff piles) and I would many times have to look over them over and over. because I would oftentime get confused and mix up things or strain my brain on what to do with it! I have to use this part of dining table for right now. But .I would just like to make it look better than it currently is. I like the idea of using the sticky notes to lable each pile, Great idea! Sometime i would like to find a small reasonably priced table somewhere to help me get this off my dining table. But for now what are some other things I can do to make it better?

  35. I like the countdown timer. I have used this to motivate me to clean and realize it doesn’t take as long as I always think it does.

  36. I keep a clipboard at hand when sorting through mail-so anything urgent can be added and the rest left for when I have more time.

  37. OK but I don't have a long bench or table I can sort like that on, just the floor or my bed, and all would need to be used at some point. Also sticky note on top paper, would have to move it when next paper added. On plus side you have a great voice and explained it well.

  38. Then the kids get out of school…the laundry needs to be done & the phone rings…someone has an appointment…it's time for that meeting…what's for dinner…a stay dog is sitting on the front porch…etc etc etc

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