In this organizing video I show you how to sort papers efficiently and effectively so you can get a handle on organizing your documents and sorting paperwork!

I hope you enjoy this video!

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

Hi everyone. I’m Alejandra from Organize & Flow 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.

How to Organize Paperwork

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.

Grab a Pile of Papers to Sort

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.

How to Organize Papers from Organize & Flow

How to Organize Papers from Organize & Flow

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.

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.

Sort Papers into Categories

So just look at the first piece of paper in your pile. 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.

How to Sort Papers from Organize & Flow

How to Sort Papers from Organize & Flow

Create an Action Pile

So all these different piles I’m creating are all different categories. 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.

So sorting that pile of paper clutter took not even two minutes to do and I sorted a whole stack of papers. That was not the whole drawer of paperwork. There’s still more stuff in there. 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.

Label Categories to Make Sorting Easier

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, How to Organize Actionable Papers.

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.

If you feel overwhelmed, grab a small pile, and 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 Organize & Flow for more tools and training on living a more organized and productive life. Thanks for watching and I will see you soon. Bye.

About Alejandra

About Alejandra

Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and “The Decluttering Queen” by Good Morning America, Alejandra’s expertise has been featured in The New York Times,, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. 


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