Why organize your paperwork? Organizing your paperwork clears piles of paper cluttering your space, helps you find information efficiently, keeps you on top of bills and to-dos, and avoids late fees, missed deadlines, and wasting time. Organize your paperwork to reduce stress, have a clear mind, and focus on what matters.
The first step toward fully organized paperwork is to sort. When I am clearing someone’s desk, we use use RAFTS to sort paperwork. What does RAFTS stand for?
Recycle any paperwork you no longer need that doesn’t contain sensitive information. This includes things like advertisements, takeout menus, old Post-it notes, or junk mail.
Don’t forget that you can also repurpose paper! Anything with a blank back can be used as scratch paper for quick notes! If your home has kids, they can color on unwanted paper, too. You could even use it to make paper mache art! Why not?
Action items are anything that needs your attention, like a bill to pay or a letter to reply to, or phone calls to return. I will address action items in more detail in my next post!
File paperwork that contains things you will need later. Statements, school records, and policy documents fit into this category. For more about how to file paperwork, check out this post!
Trash/Treasure: Go through your paperwork and decide what’s worth keeping, and what’s worth letting go. Any paperwork with grease or other food on it can go. Treasure could be anything from special holiday cards to important documents that must be kept. If you’re holding on to something you can’t remember receiving, consider recycling or trashing it to minimize clutter.
Shred anything with account numbers, social security numbers, or other non-public information that you no longer need. You don’t have to shred items with your name and address because that’s public information.
Any questions about how to use RAFTS to sort paperwork? Ask them in the comments!
What a great and simple acronym to help us remember how to deal with paperwork! We have a “to shred” bin that is overflowing. My husband was supposed to take it to a local free shredding event, but he forgot LOL! I figure that’s a good snowy day project ahead of me.
Thanks, Seana! Getting those papers shredded sounds like a good plan.
Acronyms are helpful in getting us to remember the steps in a process. I like RAFTS and how you describe each phase. I agree with you 100% that clearing excess paper does wonder for the mental clutter we hold in our heads. Plus it improves the quality of the space too. Why hold onto more than is necessary?
Great acronym. Easy to understand and remember. Thanks.
Thanks so much, Janet!
Nifty post! Acronyms are so great for keeping people focused. I’ve teach clients my own “RAFT” (no S) for paperwork that I created long ago, but it’s neat to see where our ideas are similar and where they diverge. Recycling gives yours a fresh, sustainable approach.
I appreciate that, Julie! I love making sure my practices are sustainable.