Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Paper Pile Crisis of 2013

I'm organized at heart.  Things like file folders and pen holders have always made me smile.  Yet somehow in the chaos of Real Life, those obsessions have been buried under unopened mail, unstapled tax paperwork and coupons that are never redeemed.  It's the start of a new year so I avoided resolutions and just decided to do something about the mess. 

I'd gone through this process before, with short-lived results.  As soon as I learned how expensive file cabinets are (even IKEA wants $100 for one!), I went into Plan B: baskets.  When I was in my apartment, this system worked...the file folders fit perfectly, the baskets slid in and out of my Expidit bookshelf smoothly, and Organized Beth was happy.  But then time went by, paperwork associated with homeownership avalanched, good couponing intentions continued to go unfulfilled, and soon I had not just this:

But this:

 And this:

It looks harmless enough, but  stacks of paper in front of the light switch - not to mention right next to the flame of my gas stove - are never a good idea.

First I tackled the kitchen mess with a trip to Target.  For $7.99 I got this place to put bills, coupons and pens...and a nice splash of teal to blend with my shades-of-blue breakfast nook.

In addition to removing clutter and fire danger from the kitchen, this wonderful little mail center helped me clean out the paperwork that had cluttered the desk in my office.  That clutter distracts me when I'm trying to write or study Spanish (both on the new year's list of resolutions!) so now I have no excuse not to accomplish my goals.  Except for that whole having a job thing.

Clearly the mail center was no help for file folders, however, so instead I turned to Craigslist where I found an old file cabinet for $5.  The seller was a mile from my house (nice surprise, since usually everything I find on Craigslist is as far across the Phoenix area as possible), the cabinet was as good as you'd expect a $5 treasure to be, and I was optimistic.  Staples failed to acknowledge my Under $5 File Cabinet Policy - I had to pay $10 for the metal inserts that are necessary to hang file folders - but still, even with my less-than-great math skills I know that $15 for a file cabinet is better than $100!

It definitely still needs some love but that makes it more fun.  In the near future I'll prime and spray paint my new friend to cover up the chips and the sticker listing the name and address of a previous owner (from Minnesota - that cabinet's done some traveling!).

And even without a pretty outside, the inside of this baby is gorgeously organized and all ready to help me do my taxes quickly!


  1. In case you need more cabinets, I've had really good luck finding file cabinets at Goodwill. I'm so glad you've been able to get more organized. Wanna come help me?

    1. I love organizing so let me know however I can help! I've never had Goodwill file cabinet luck so maybe you could play math maker for me...though now I'm determined to make this beat up mess beautiful just to prove I can. :)

  2. I need to get my papers under control too. I started throwing everything into a desk drawer and now it's a serious mess. I like the teal organizer from Target too. I could use one of those in the kitchen to hold the mail, coupons and other clutter. I should probably work on organization soon...

    1. Target's my answer to just about everything. :) They have a whole desk organization set in that teal, with some other great colors too!