Organize your home office.

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Organize the Home Office
We'd all like the home office to be a model of efficiency, but for many it's a magnet that attracts every piece of paper that comes into the home.

Quick Tips
Create a paperwork zone. Designate places for the main types of paper in these spaces—unopened mail, magazines, bills and receipts, and important personal information. Put mail and bills near each other, along with envelopes, stamps, your checkbook and other items you need regularly. Find out the best time of year to organize your paperwork. 

Keep horizontal surfaces clear. Keep your office uncluttered by ensuring that any desk surface, countertop or table is clear of paperwork. If you don't start piles, they can't grow.

Go digital. Organize your computer files, delete old ones regularly and back up important ones. Whenever possible, use the Internet to pay bills, which can help reduce paper clutter.

Minimize junk mail. Treat junk mail like the intruder it is. Get rid of it immediately. To minimize junk mail, contact the Direct Marketing Association at to activate the mail preference service or call 888-5OPT-OUT to stop those annoying credit card offers.

Keep track of bills and receipts. Buy a 12-month expanding file, and file all bills or receipts monthly. You'll come back to each one a year later. If you haven't needed it by then, get rid of it!

Maintain a good filing system. A good system can keep anything organized. Suggested categories are: automotive, education, financial, health and medical, home and real estate, insurance, legal, work and taxes. Keep frequently used files handy.

How-to Videos
Junk Your Junk Mail Watch