Hanging paperwork files at a small business

Paper organization strategies (or lack thereof) can make or break a small business. Today, I share how a complete paper overhaul, including processing and permanent paper systems, helped this business recover $15,000 in unpaid work within a few weeks. Small business optimization is a passion of Restoring Order and is one of the best investments a business can make.

It’s always a good thing for a company to call in a professional organizer. Whether it’s a corporation with hundreds of employees, a mid-size firm, government agency, non-profit, or a home-based operation, savvy decision-makers know that “restoring order” to your business is the wisest investment you can make.

Sometimes there’s a stigma associated with a company getting organized. Outsiders (or even those doing the hiring) may feel that it’s embarrassing to admit help is needed.

But after two decades in the field I can tell you this: business owners and operators who invest in maximizing their business practices and correcting areas that are out-of-order are already WAY AHEAD of those that have blind spots or are too proud to make changes.

When a CEO, manager, or employee reaches out to Restoring Order to get organized, we are delighted for the opportunity to empower them and their business.

Portland Professional Organizing Services - Paper

One such small business optimization project was a local home-based business: Sherwood Plumbing Company.

Co-owners Jessica and Devin Adams hired Restoring Order to help them improve their home office and paper flow. They needed solid business paperwork and invoicing systems.

Ultimately, the Adams started their business so they could be home with their young family. Jessica left a career in the legal field and Devin left his job with a plumbing contractor to join forces and create the life they had always wanted.

As they expanded beyond themselves and began to hire help, they also gained a passion for giving others meaningful work that allowed them to spend time with their families.


This is why this project was so fun for us: Empowering business owners with organizing systems allows them to get back to why they started in the first place! Organizing empowers businesses and people to thrive!

Vicki Norris with Clients

An upright smiling young man, Devin wanted to offer consumers a reliable, professional contracting service wherein those hiring them wouldn’t have to worry about the caliber and character of those entering their homes and businesses.

Balancing a baby on one hip, Jessica answers the phone and makes every caller feel like they’re the most important of the day. As sharp as she is sweet, Jessica uses her background to run a tight ship and ensure that everyone is serviced with care.

Cluttered home office

As the business grew, the paper management systems (or lack thereof) caused problems for the small company. Jessica admits they were working from piles of paperwork. Devin remembers how difficult it was to communicate between the two of them what needed to be done with paper.

Messy antique desk covered in paperwork

After an assessment, our organizer helped them repurpose a vacated nursery in their home into their new home office and the process of small business optimization began!

Jessica shared with our professional organizer that collecting on outstanding invoices was a major issue, so they went to work on sorting out the existing broken process.

Vicki Norris with client showing action trays

The result was an incoming paperwork stacking tray system that allowed Devin (who works out in the field during the day) to deposit his new invoices in one location so Jessica could process them swiftly. Then, a logical process was instituted to move that invoice from one step to another through the tray system.

Office paper processing trays

This customized solution for the Adams solved their invoicing issue and within 2 weeks Jessica said they collected $15,000 in outstanding payments! (Read their testimonial here)

Organized desktop with paper trays
Binder System on Desk

This husband/wife team also needed a good ‘To Do’ system and a filing system for home and work. In short order, our organizer implemented the Restoring Order® set of paper systems: a Processing system and Permanent system.

Action Trays with Labels

The Processing system she implemented for the Adams included a tray system containing actionable items: To Do, To Pay, To Read, etc. Now, the couple has a simple system in which to put their mail and incoming items and to take ACTION on those items!

Filing System at home based business

The Permanent filing system we established is a linear system with subcategories and file folders behind them. Each of the subcategories make up a “neighborhood”. Now their files are organized and easily accessible. This filing system was revolutionary for the Adams and a turning point for optimizing their small business.

Tip: Use one file folder per hanging file – when you remove a file, you’ll know where to rehome it!

Filing cabinet with hanging file folders

Having good systems helps businesses stay in business, recapture money, and maximize their time.

If you are struggling with paper management, our consultants are here to offer hands-on help with small business optimization.

We still have a few of our Paper Management series trainings in stock; get them while you can!

For DIY help, visit our Reclaim Your Paper blog category.


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