Paper piles strewn about; bills, advertisements, subscriptions, statements, coupons…they're building up and you don’t know where to begin addressing it.
Paper clutter is one of the most talked about issues in organization and for good reason. Paper can be as important as birth certificates, wills, or life insurance forms to as unimportant as the take-out menu to a restaurant you hate.
The key to keeping papers under control is to have a system where you know exactly where to dispose or keep them, and taking care of them swiftly.
Let’s start the paper arranging conversation with mail.
I recommend that you quickly open all of your mail once you’re home to see what it is. You’ll know immediately what’s junk to recycle or what to hold on to. Then, place the papers within one of these categories:
IF IT'S JUNK TO RECYCLE: Have a paper recycling bin handy so you can drop them in right away. A good place is in your kitchen or near your door. If you want to shred items with your name on them, great, otherwise tearing up in pieces is fine too.
IF IT'S MAGAZINES OR LITERATURE TO READ: Pick a spot in each room you read in, and have a receptacle where they always go. For example, a basket in the living room or your bedside table in the bedroom.
IF IT'S RECORDS FOR SAFE-KEEPING: These go immediately in your filing cabinet or accordion system. A fire-proof box can be useful for records of major importance that aren't easily replaced.
IF IT'S TO-DO'S: These should be placed anywhere you know you will see them and take action. Your workspace is a good choice for bills that need to be paid, appointment reminders that need to be scheduled, etc. Have a designated file folder, filing tray or cork board that you go to on a regular basis to place these. If they are time sensitive, writing a due date on them is really helpful.
IF IT'S BRIEF REMINDERS/SENTIMENTAL: These should be placed where you’ll see them and can be grabbed quickly as you’re going out the door, or displayed for the time being. This can be coupons, tickets or wedding invitations, as well as special letters from family or pictures. A nice place can be the refrigerator or nook in your kitchen, as well as a hanging white board or pin board.
If you’re just starting this process, go through your home and figure out where all of these categories will be. Then, start gathering papers that are lying around and place them in the spot for each category. Soon enough you’ll see how the system works for you and the great part is you can always course -correct and adjust as needed.
Mastering paper clutter can take some time and patience so don’t get frustrated with yourself! It's a habit that will take hold if you take the time everyday to sort it.
I’m always here to help you make decisions on how to do this best in your home. Reach out to me for a free 30 minutes consultation.
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via
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