How to Organize Actionable Papers (Paper Organizing Tips Part 2 of 2)

Hi everyone. I’m Alejandra from
and in this video I’m going to share with you how to organize important papers that
require you to take some kind of action, so you can stay on top of things and avoid any
kind of negative consequences. 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 things to do tonight to feel more organized tomorrow when
you wake up. There’s a link below. All right. So in the first video, if you missed
it, there’s a link below. But the first video we talked about how to sort paperwork.
We grabbed a stack of papers and we sorted everything and we created one pile for everything
that requires you to take action. There’s a link below in case you missed
the video. But now, in this video, I’m going to share with you a system, an easy-to-set-up
system for organizing all of the things that require you to take action. So it’s like
bills to pay, people to call, things to cancel, things to apply for, things to submit, things
to follow up on and stuff like that. All right. So I have the pile here and let
me grab the system and show you exactly what I did. All right. So right here, I have a
wall-mounted magazine holder and just because this is a magazine holder does not mean that
you need to only use this organizing product for organizing magazines. If you just think
outside the box, you can organize anything that can stay nicely in a vertical slot just
like this. So I put papers in here. You can do file folders. You can do coloring books.
You could do scrapbook paper, anything that will stay nicely here. OK. So what I did here was I took all the
papers, the required action that we sorted out. This is more papers than from the previous
video but everything here requires you to take action. I put it one piece of paper – like
one project in each slot here to make it really visible on what requires you to take action. So if you’re a visual person and you have
things to do, you need to visually see what you need to do in order to remember what needs
to be done because it’s like out of sight, out of mind. If these papers that require
you to take action were inside of a closed drawer or underneath the stack, you would
easily forget what needs to get done. So by keeping them visual just like this, you’re
constantly reminding yourself what needs to get done. All right. So everything here requires you
to take action. Something else I did here was I took a Post-it note and I wrote down
what the action is for each piece of paper or each document. So for example, this one
right here says, “Confirm status next month. Make sure that your rate went down from $89
to $77.” So when you process a sheet of paper or you
process a statement inside your office, you had the information that’s like top of mind.
So it’s easy to remember. But if you need to follow up on something next month or in
six weeks from now, when you come back to this document, your mind is not fresh on all
the information. So if you just take a sticky note and you write yourself like a dummy note
on what you’re supposed to remember, it’s going to help you be able to process this
document a lot faster than if you didn’t write yourself a note. So this says, “Make sure your new rate is
$77 as opposed to $89.” So it’s just like checking your statements to make sure it’s
correct. So everything has a dummy note here with some kind of critical information. Like
this is due on 3/31. This needs to be submitted by 3/15, stuff like that. So I just took sticky notes in any color.
There are multiple colors here. I just grabbed whatever sticky note I could find. Nothing
is color-coded. You can also write it on the actual piece of paper if you don’t want
to use a sticky note. But the point is make it as easy as possible so when you come back
a month from now to process these documents, you know exactly what to do. It’s easy. There’s no frustration and
you can just handle everything with ease. Then the last tip here is to – once you
process a paper or document, so let’s say you paid – let’s say you submitted this
because this says, “Submit to IQB.” So let’s say you submitted this. What do you
do with this now? Do you put it back in here or do you get rid of it? So what to do with this paper depends on if
you need it or not. It’s hard to say what papers you need. But if you don’t need it,
if you don’t need the paper, then your options are to shred it if it has sensitive information
or to recycle it if it doesn’t have sensitive information and it can just be recycled. If you need to keep the piece of paper or
keep the document for your record, then you can either put it in a file box. So let me
grab my file box. You can put it in a box just like this of stuff to file. So I prefer
to batch file all my documents. So in my office, my office isn’t set up right now because
we just moved. But in my office, when it’s normally set
up, I have a box or a drawer that has file on it and I will just put anything that needs
to be filed inside the box and then at the end of the month or the end of the week, depending
upon the volume of papers inside the box, I will sit down in front of my filing cabinet
and I will just file all the papers right there nice and easy as opposed to filing one
paper at a time as it needs to be filed. So it’s like batch processing. Now, if you
don’t want to file the paper and you’re a digital person, you can start a box for
scanning and then once your box gets filled, you scan your papers, so you’re not keeping
the physical piece of paper. If you do this, filling a box thing, you just have to make
sure you actually file or scan as opposed to letting this box fill up and then grabbing
another box and starting another file pile. That’s when piles accumulate. That’s when
we get behind on things and what’s when we get a little bit disorganized. So just
stay on top of your piles. I hope you found this video helpful. Again, if you missed the
first part of how to sort papers, there’s a link below. If you want more videos on getting
organized, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel 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. Bye!


Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing. It has been awhile since I saw one of your videos. You're videos got me hooked on watching YouTube videos πŸ˜ƒ

Wouldn't it be more efficient to keep all of the follow-ups in a calendar? For instance, if you need to follow-up with the cost adjustment for a cable bill, if you mark it on your calendar on the due date "check for correct billing" you wouldn't need to keep the old bill for an extra month? Just a suggestion. I fight paper clutter all of the time and holding on for even a week gets hairy. You do have wonderful tips and organization ideas!

Good to have you back on youtube! I hope you'll show us how you set up your new spaces – i never found more helpful videos than yours! πŸ™‚

I actually said, "Yay!" out loud when I saw you had a new video up. Thank you for all your tips. I am behind on filing. I think I will work on that after lunch. Filing is not my favorite thing.

You seem very sweet. Thanks for sharing the videos, they are really motivational. I always feel like organising something when I watch them… ^_^

I need an organizer like that. where did you find yours? if I can't make one I might buy one. 😊 especially for kids school papers. 😰

I am so happy I found your channel and this video in particular. Tomorrow I have set aside time in the afternoon to tackle the piles of paper in my office! The advice here is perfect and I have my checklist ready to go. Thank you β™₯

i'm in Australia. I don't get paper bills , everything is digital and paid digitally. I just keep a budget and know when bills are due and pay them accordingly.

Those magazine racks are great! And you can always reuse them for magazines, or even kitchen items like cutting boards or lids. πŸ‘

I have the same magazine holder and this is such a good idea. I'm so glad you're back with new videos and I hope you do a new office tour. I've loved watching your office organization change through out the years :0

Thanx for posting this. I am actually very organized myself but my good friend is disabled and has become a horder and has asked me to help her organize her papers. I have to tell you there r areas of the house u can't walk because of papers. This was a good beginning video for me to help her get organized. I already bought some folders and binders buti like the wall shelving that would help her stay organized. I want her to be able to entertain and not b ashamed.

Thank you for that idea!! I never thought about that. I will use that for my girls and boys room to organizate their school papers.

Hi Alejandra! Would you ever consider making an organizing series for college students? There's a ton of stuff that needs to fit into a super tiny dorm room; any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Great video Alejandra! πŸ™‚ Could you do a video about how you organize your working out stuff? (clothes, material, etc)

Hi Alejandra, I love your videos and have really missed them! I'm so glad to see your videos regularly now. Please keep going!
Love and Support –
Faith xx

A pending/file folder in a drawer with electronic calendar reminders would work better plus visually, papers are out of the way and would make the workplace a lot cleaner. The rack looks too "busy", its better use isΒ as a magazine holder.

The only problem I had with having with this system (I actually did this before the video came out. Because you inspired me so much! ) was that I couldn't see when each item needed to be done by. So yeah I know that this stuff needs to be done but can I do something else first? or it needs to be before I go do my returns? (lets say) So what I actually started doing was, aside from the sticky notes, I started adding tabs with dates on the tops of the papers, so that I could see when it needed to be done/responded to/processed by etc. AND I keep the earlier "due dates" on the top so that I could see them easier. If something doesn't have a due date, I give myself a deadline that I want it done by. And it actually saves time, I don't have to pull out EVERY piece of paper on the rack and look constantly to make sure I'm keeping up with all the due dates. I can just at the top rack to see the next upcoming due date. I also rotate. So when I get rid of the documents on the first tier, all the other papers move up a tier so I only have to look at the top and probably the second one, just to see what the next task will be.

Thanks for the tips! I love your videos πŸ˜‰ they inspire me to keep my house clean and stay efficient! Keep up the great work!!

Oh my goodness, glad to see you back, Alejandra! I am love ALL your vids. Your explanation is very helpful for me! Got a vid request, maybe you can explain how you manage your time management/or calendar.

I think you have several different kind of schedule in one of your vid! So I think that's will be a helpful vid for your next vid! Thanks a lot! xo

Great tips, thanks! I've been binge watching your organizing videos, and abaolutely love them πŸ™‚ One question though: is there a seller in amazon or ebay who sells the staples colourful binders you use? I have them for being sotf in the corners (not boring rectangular), bright and a bit different from the usual office supplies. I live in Finland so we don't have Staples here. Thanks!

I would love if you could assist me in storing certificates. E.g School certificates, swimming classes, music etc..

I never know what to do with all my papers they're always scattered in several places in my home neatly however but no real system in place. β™‘ this tip with the box, at the end of the month, then file, and the actionable papers where they can be seen and not missed. great! I love it alejandra!

What I learned from this video : if you have a piece of paper in your hand. You have 2 choices. 1)put it where it belongs or 2) put it in a box to sit for a month and then after a month you put it where it belongs. Alejandra chose option 2.

Life can get very overwhelming and stressful. And, I realized that it's important to stay organized, breakdown your tasks, and take one step at a time in order to alleviate that anxiety and, as Alejandra said, to avoid negative consequences. I really appreciate these videos because she shows you exactly how to do that so that life doesn't feel so overwhelming and stressful anymore. Thank you, Alejandra. πŸ™‚

In the last 2 months, I have * FILLED * and recycled 10 bags of old papers. Last night I filled a recycling bin at a college library with old papers, about half of that was obsolete textbooks, where I tore out the pages.

I figure I have 3 to 4 more grocery bags of papers to sort and recycle, plus I will scan a few and types lots of notes.

Alejandra, even your disorganized mess is more organized than my disorganized mess.

Dear Little Lady, I just "stumbled" upon ur videos…..
love all ur cool ideas. I had no idea anyone else was as OCD as I , regarding folding things "just so". also organizing the pan lids and all the plastic ware. so many people just open a cupboard door and throw things in……😨……
I have created all kinds of organizational "container
store" type items using sturdy cardboard boxes ( like liquor
boxes) and banana boxes…..
Cover the box w contact paper and they're sturdier.and don't look quite so proletarian.

Banana boxes will slide UNDER most beds…..there
you go ; instant under bed
drawers ! if your bed's too low, trim the box down with a box cutter knife, and THEN cover w contact paper. 😁

your "container" shelves and drawers are wonderful .You have a lot of very good ideas.
"do u make housecalls?!" πŸ˜‚

I DO iron and I love to iron !….
my daughter's and daughters-in-love always have a basket of ironing waiting for me when I go to visit. 😁……..

what a lot of good ideas you have ! I especially like your 30 minute daily tidy up…….and your 5 min "sort the papers"…
excellent plan……..

so glad I found your videos.
may u continue to prosper more in more in what you're


Alejandra how would you organize a deep dresser drawer the size is just as wide and deep as the kitchen drawer you're standing in front of in this video. I have clothes folded and they're just layers of clothes so I can't see what's underneath the top layer and forget what's in them. When I'm looking for certain items I have to dig through the whole drawer. Any tips to fix this, I'm lost. Thanks.

Loving that vertical file organizer – where did you purchase that?

Oh – I found it on your website under Products that you use:

Silver 12-Pocket Mesh Wall Organizer

Batch processing- what a great way to maximize your time. I also like the follow-up summary on the sticky note. It seems like this will increase the probability that actions will actually be carried out. Thank you for sharing!

THANK YOU for emphasizing that recycling is an option. tooooo many people say "throw away" and it is just sad that they don't recycle.

Hi Alejandra. I cam across your you tube videos by accident. Being a small business owner and a mum of 3, I feel overwhelmed with loads of paperwork and not sure what to do with it. I classify myself as a people person, or creative person. But I am not a "systems/process" person. I found you videos so helpful. We will be moving house next year. I think your ideas will be really helpful to me. Thank you.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your channel!!!! Please upload again soon.. I rewatch old organizational videos because I love your videos so much. Keep up the good work. BEST ORGANIZER EVER!! You are my dream organization goals

I'm only 11 but i have have a lot of things that need sorting, this helped ( part 1 and 2 of this)… A LOT!

Thanks Alejandra!

From Emily πŸ™‚

Alejandra, when I click on the link for the wall organizer it brings me to a WalGreens page about reducing plastic bags? I clicked on it several times with the same result. Help please?

Great system Alejandra. I actually use a file folder in my kitchen and just add categories as I need them. If I don't have a place for something it might need a new category so I can add one. Love your idea of a scan and shred pile I think I'm going to add that to my office 😊


I am a teacher and I am looking for a solution to store the sheets of my class.

I have several subjects. I hesitate between a binder with plastic sheet and interleaves or cardboard folders with flap.

What do you recommend ?

This is what I've never learned how to deal with.
I think you should put this video in your "Home Office Organizing Tips" Playlist under Part 1 of 2.

What about bill paying…I use an accordion file 0-31 and out the bills in there the date they are due and also write it on my calendar.misnthere a better watch to do it?

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