10 Creative Ways to Organize Your Office Space for Maximum Efficiency

Paper Piling, Horizontal Filing, and Other Filing Options: How to Stay Organized and Reduce Clutter

As we go through our daily routine, paper can quickly accumulate and take over our desk or office space. For some, the solution is to create piles of paper based on projects or subject matter. But this system can quickly become disorganized and can add to the stress of an already busy day. In this article, we will explore why people are drawn to piling paper, the negative effects of disorganized piles, and what steps you can take to reduce clutter and stay organized.

Why Piling Paper is so Common

There are several reasons why individuals tend to accumulate piles of paper in their workspace. First, those who have a visual orientation may feel that if the papers are not in sight, they will not remember to attend to them. For these individuals, a pile of paper serves as a visual reminder of what needs to be addressed. Second, those who prefer to organize horizontally instead of vertically may find that piles are an easier way to keep papers organized. Third, some people struggle with making decisions about what to do with various documents, and thus, they keep them in piles as a way to avoid making choices.

Negative Effects of Disorganized Piles

While piling paper may serve as a reminder of what needs to be addressed, it can quickly become overwhelming and add to the stress of an already busy day. Disorganized piles may lead to difficulty locating specific documents quickly, which can cause unnecessary delays and frustration. Additionally, the visual clutter created by piles of paper can cause added stress and anxiety, making it difficult to focus and complete work efficiently.

Steps to Reduce Clutter and Stay Organized

To avoid the negative effects of disorganized piles of paper, it is important to take steps to reduce clutter and stay organized. The following are some strategies to consider:

1. Make a commitment to make a decision about each document the first time you touch it. Determine if it is an action item, something to file, or something to dispose of.

2. Eliminate setting paper aside for any reason. By addressing each document immediately, you can reduce the likelihood of creating piles of paper in the first place.

3. Use a step sorter on your desk to make files visible. This method allows for horizontal organization while keeping documents organized in a more traditional filing system.

4. Use an open filing system to keep papers visible and accessible, while also reducing clutter and noise. These systems can be found in filing cabinets on wheels, desktop filing boxes, or crates.

5. Invest in a label maker to create easy-to-read labels on folders. This will help keep files organized while also making it easier to locate specific documents quickly.

Benefits of Staying Organized

Being organized can have many benefits, including increased productivity, efficiency, and a reduction in stress and anxiety. When papers are easily located, individuals can complete tasks more effectively and efficiently. An organized workspace also reduces distractions and increases focus, leading to better quality work and higher levels of job satisfaction. Additionally, an organized individual appears more competent and confident in their abilities, leading to greater credibility in the workplace.


In conclusion, while piling paper may work for some individuals as a visual reminder, it can quickly become disorganized and contribute to a stressful work environment. By taking steps to reduce clutter and apply effective organization strategies, individuals can increase productivity, efficiency, and reduce stress in the workplace. Remember to commit to making decisions about each document the first time it is encountered, eliminate setting papers aside for later, use a step sorter or an open filing system, and invest in labeling materials to keep documents organized.

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