Although digital documents are quickly replacing their paper counterparts, the former are still very common. It can be difficult to keep paper documents organized, so having the right tools is essential. So if you’re a self-employed professional, an administrative assistant, or maybe you’re in need of some reminding of organizations tools, then take a look at this article.
A letter opener. If you get a lot of paper mail, it can be very handy to have a letter opener, especially if you lack someone who can process your mail for you. Using a letter opener will save you some time, prevent paper cuts, and generally make your life a bit easier. You don’t even have to get one of those large machines typically found in company mailrooms. There are handheld devices available that are small enough to fit in your desk drawer or in your bag so it’s always handy.
A paper folder. In addition to their terrific letter openers, Martin Yale manufactures excellent paper folders. Some of their folders are small enough to fit alongside a computer and printer so you can fold up that day’s correspondence and get it in the mail without leaving your desk. A paper folder helps reduce the amount of time you spend on less important tasks.
A paper shredder. If you pay attention to the news at all, you know that identity theft occurs everyday. Also, you probably want to keep your clients’ private information to yourself to prevent a lawsuit. Thus, you need to have your own paper shredder. Good shredders are made by a variety of manufacturers including HSM, Intimus, and GBC. However, some of the very best are made by Fellowes, a company that makes both strip- and cross-cut shredders for a number of different work environments. Fellowes has a good selection of deskside shredders that offer a lot of security so you can destroy financial records, canceled checks, e-mails, and other documents without having to get up.
A three-hole punch and three-ring binders. As we approach 2011, more and more documents and information are being stored online. However, paper is still with us (for better or worse) so there’s still a need for binders, etc. Binders are made by companies such as Wilson Jones and Avery and they’re prefect for storing reports, accounting information, and more. There are even antimicrobial binders available that can help keep germs under control. (These can help reduce the amount of sick days your employees take.)
Also, you will probably need a three-hole punch. Swingline, the esteemed stapler manufacturer, has some great hole punches available. Some of them have all-metal parts for durability and there are also electric punches that can handle a fair amount of paper at once to help you get the job done quickly.
Make sure to check out index tabs and sheet protectors to add more organization to your binders.
A high-quality stapler. As mentioned above, Swingline is a company that’s highly respected. Their staplers are excellent document fastening devices and one belongs on every office desk. Swingline staplers are durable, fashionable, and affordable. They can be used for years and can staple just about anything. These staplers come in both manual and electric varieties so you can choose one that’s right for you.
A pouch laminator. Pouch laminators have a lot of different uses. They can be used to create name tags and ID badges, laminate important documents, and protect photographs. You can get a lot of use out of them, so you may want to consider getting one. You will be able to preserve those important paper documents as well as laminate items as diverse as safety plans and flowcharts. As with paper shredders, laminators are made by various companies. You can’t go wrong with a machine from GBC or Fellowes. Their laminators look great and are strong enough to be used regularly.
A booklet maker. If you regularly put together booklets, a booklet maker is a great investment. These machines will fold and staple the paper so you can produce a lot of booklets rather quickly. Using a booklet maker is much more efficient than making booklets by hand so one of these devices is a terrific addition to your office. MBM and Formax both make excellent devices, so be sure to check out their booklet makers.
A whiteboard. A high-quality whiteboard is a terrific organizational tool for just about any environment including the kitchen, home or professional office, classroom, and so on. While you can definitely use this type of device to communicate ideas with others, you can also use them to make lists and keep track of appointments (doctor, dentist, parent/teacher) and deadlines (bills, school assignments). Whiteboards come in all different sizes; there are even ones that are small enough to fit in tiny locations such as lockers. And if you really want to stay on top of things, there are whiteboards that have calendar grids printed on them. These have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. You won’t have a paper calendar to get rid of at the end of the year. Just make sure you only use dry-erase markers on your board. Other types of markers can stain it.
A plastic comb binding machine. A binding machine makes it possible for your admin to create bound documents that can be distributed to clients and colleagues. Plastic comb binding is one of the most popular bookbinding methods used because it’s easy and the supplies are pretty inexpensive. You can buy comb binding machines that can produce documents that are more than 400 pages long, so your can put together both short and long books. GBC makes some of the best comb binding machines and they also produce a whole lineup of binding combs and covers. Fellowes also manufactures some good comb binding machines.
Organizing your documents can be time-consuming and challenging, but the results will be worth it. You’ll be able to find things more easily, keep track of your budget, and more. The supplies discussed above can help make things easier, so think about getting some of them for your organizational needs.