I was thinking about when I first started couponing, and how hard it was for me to decide how to organize the whole thing. There are several ways to organize your coupons. I found a good description of a few of them on Southern Savers. I decided to organize mine using a crate.
I labeled 12 weeks worth of folders, with Sunday's dates, to place each Sunday's coupon inserts in. Each week I write the date on the outside of the inserts and place them in the corresponding folder.
Then I use Southern Savers to find the coupons I need. They list out the sales for each grocery store, along with where the coupons can be found. I choose what I need to buy, and then find the corresponding coupon.
EX: If I want to buy Sara Lee Bread, I wait until I see it on sale at the grocery store, then I look to see where a corresponding coupon is. If it say the coupon is in SS on 3/7/10, then I know to look in the 3/7/10 folder in the Smart Source insert. Then I cut out that coupon.
This keeps me from having to cut out a lot of coupons I will never use. It also allows me to keep coupons that I did not think I would use. The biggest disadvantage of this method is not having my coupons with me at the grocery store. If you get to the store and see something on clearance, or on sale, that was not advertised; then you don't have your coupons to go with the item. I keep an envelope in my pocketbook with coupons that I know I want to use, even if I don't find a sale (ex: $.55 coupon off of bread. I buy this every week, sale or not. That way if I do see it on sale, I can use it.)
I also keep several other folders in my crate:
All You -My All You magazines
Best Prices -My price list (Southern Savers has a good example.)
Coupon Books -Any coupon books I get from the grocery store or in the mail
Coupon Store Policies -Policies from most of the stores where I shop
Shopping Lists -Sometimes I make my shopping lists a few days before I go to the store. I keep them along with the needed coupons in here.
This Week's Ads -I keep the current week's ads from the newspaper (I always end up needing them).
UnCut Coupons -When I have time to print coupons, but not cut them, I put them here. Then later, when I have time I cut them out.
I also have a small coupon holder for coupons I printed off of the computer, or have gotten from other places. I have scissors, tape, paper clips and a calculator. I keep all of these in a container it the front of my crate. (I hate having to search for scissors!)
This system seems to work for me. It took a little while to organize it, but it is easy to find the coupons quickly. The other thing I like, is when I'm not using it, I can just put it in the closet. That way I don't have coupons sitting all over my house.