If there is one thing that plagues almost all of us, it’s paper clutter. Junk mail, school papers, bills, or coupons – no matter what you do to organize, more is constantly coming in.
I’m going to let let you in on my secrets to tame it!
STOP SAVING EVERYTHING
This might sound heartless, but even with two kids in school, we don’t save every paper that comes into our home. We throw a lot away, hang up special projects and papers on a hanging wire in our play area for display, and enter dates for events and activities right into my digital calendar. Sometimes, I’ll even take a picture of something special. I WANT to keep it all, but things are actually more special when there’s less too look at. Too much becomes overwhelming. I will ask my kids if they want to save something before tossing it, and they are getting pretty good at discerning what to keep and what to get rid of. Paper gone.
TOUCH IT ONCE
You’ve heard this one before. It works. If I don’t have time to deal with the mail as soon as I bring it in, I’ll leave it in the mailbox. Most of it goes in the garbage the second it crosses the threshold. I’ll quickly scan our local newspaper, grab the coupons I want to clip and any bills, and the rest goes into the recycle bin. School papers are dealt with the same way – right after school. What needs returned is immediately dealt with and goes back the next day if possible. (This keeps me from forgetting and misplacing things too!)
CREATE AN EASY FILE SYSTEM (that you’ll actually use!)
I keep a very small file box in the canvas bin of a cube organizer. It’s hidden from view but it’s easily accessible – and I use it daily. Papers are easy to find when I need them.
When you create your small file box, its purpose it not to become a complete filing system from your home. We have larger file cabinets in another area of the house. This is to tame the paper that needs immediate attention and keep it easily accessible.
LABEL YOUR FOLDERS • Choose what works for you. Here’s how I organize mine.
Do something! (Pretty self explanatory. Bills, School Forms etc.)
Hold Onto Temporarily: Party invitations, receipts, anything that I don’t need to keep forever but might need in the near future.
Kids: One folder with each child’s name on it for various papers and reference items (like school passwords I easily misplace otherwise).
Taxes: Medical receipts, donation receipts, W2s, and anything that we might need for our taxes at year end. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to have everything in one place when the time comes.
File: these are the papers that need to find their way down to the larger file cabinet downstairs.
Blog: Cause I actually have a bunch of papers for this little time consuming “hobby.”
Create something that’s simple and practical, but that you enjoy. I took just a little time and made some cute file folder labels. Did I need them? Of course not. However, I really think they’re cute, and I’m more likely to use them now.
If you’re now feeling the urge to make your own. I cut smaller circles out of solid paper, and then larger circles out of patterned paper. I cut them each in half, glued them together, and that was it.
You truly have to find a system that fits your lifestyle, but I can guarantee that if you put these simple concepts into practice, and make them a habit, you’ll be well on your way to ditching the paper clutter monster!
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