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Blog: Paper Organizing Made Easy
O.P.P : Other People's Paper

How do you deal with other's paper?  The #1 question I am asked when I give a talk is, "How do I organize my spouse (or partner, roommate, etc)?"  What do I say?  "Work on yourself."  If you want to take steps to get organized, you've gotta do it for yourself.  Now, that being said, let's talk about some ways you can keep your sanity if you have to deal with Other People's Paper:

Children: You've got to love those little masterpieces your children make.  They are proud of them, and you are beaming from ear to ear.  However, keeping all of them will bury you in an ocean of, well, paper.  So, what's a parent to do?  Go through and keep your favorites (once every week is good).  Then, send out the extras to grandparents, aunts and uncles.  Also, ask your child if they would like to give them to people in your everyday life like the mailman, delivery person, hair stylist or teacher.  (Tangent alert:  Today my son made one of his masterpieces and gave it to the lady that mans the door at our local Costco.  You should have seen her smile!  She put it up on the wall, and you should have seen HIM smile.  Happy feelings, good thoughts and everybody walks away with a warm fuzzy feeling.)

Spouse:  Yep, here's the big one.  So, how do you deal with Spousal Papers?  One way is to divide and conquer.  If you are the filer or paperwork curator of the house, and your spouse is the bill payer, split the difference.  The filer decides what filing system to use, and the bill payer goes along with it.  Then, the bill payer decides how the mail is handled.  The key is to pick your battles, be sure the one you pick is really important to you and let the rest be "good enough".

Co-Workers, Colleagues & Clients (oh my!): Many people work in Cubicle Nation, and even if you work from home there are papers from co-workers, colleagues or clients that need to be dealt with.  My best advice?  Deal with it as it comes.  If you need to set a particular policy in place that will help your peace of mind, then by all means do that.  Ask your co-workers to put incoming papers in your inbox.  They may not be the way you like them, but they will be in one place.  If you work from home, ask colleagues or clients if they would kindly send you things virtually whenever possible.  (Be sure you keep a good consistent system for virtual files too, which should be similar to your paper files.  But, that's another post....)

The one thing you can't really change is how other people handle paper.  What you can do is change the way you look at it, and your attitude toward it.  If your spouse doesn't fold or stack the way you would, it's ok.  Work on yourself and keep talking about it, and you'll come to an agreement agreeable to both parties.  :)

posted on: 1/23/2008 10:30:00 AM by Brandie Kajino
category: Paper

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Paper Organizing Made Easy

by Brandie Kajino

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About Brandie:

Brandie Kajino, "The Home Office Organizer" "Empowering you to organize your home office"

Brandie's Website:


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