How to Deal With Paper Clutter

How to Deal With Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is a households number one enemy. From junk mail, magazines, receipts, schoolwork, and everything in between, paper clutter seeps into every nook and cranny of our homes, driving us nuts!

There has got to be better way to deal with paper clutter then letting it start to pile all over your home.

The reason why there has never been a magical paper clutter solution before is because to tackle this issue permanently, have to take it in steps!

What are the steps with dealing with paper clutter?

01 | DECLUTTER IT.

02 | ORGANIZE IT.

03 | CONTROL IT.

Seems simple right? It can be if you follow the guidelines below intended to help you manage your paper clutter!

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STEP ONE | How do you declutter your papers?

The most important part of decluttering papers in your home is to focus on decluttering not organizing. It’s when people try to declutter & organize at the same time, that the project gets overwhelming and abandoned.

01 | Start with four boxes and label them.

02 | Pick a space where you can leave a mess for a day or two.

03 | Collect papers from every area of your entire home. Don’t forget the receipts in your purse and the magazines on the coffee table!

04 | Start separating items into the labeled boxes piece by piece and follow these guidelines as you declutter through your papers.

RECYLE

Recycle anything you don’t need that has no sensitive information. Junk mail, opened envelopes, scraps of papers, bills you don’t need, expired coupons, paper manuals to things like toasters, old food ads & magazines.

SHRED

Shred anything you don’t need that has sensitive information on it like account numbers. Keep in mind, if it’s easily replaceable but you don’t need it, then shred it!

KEEP + FILE

Keep things you have to keep that are not easily replaceable. Certificates, major purchases, tax documents, transcripts, medical records. Think about how hard it would be to replace the item if you got rid of it. If it would be hard, then you should keep it.

ACTION NEEDED

For things to keep, but require immediate action. Coupons you need to clip, articles to rip out of magazines, bills due, things of action you need to look into before you can recycle or file them away.

STEP TWO | How do I declutter sentimental papers?

This one can be hard, but you still can declutter sentimental papers and cut the guilt! Here’s how.

01 | KIDS SCHOOLWORK: I get it! You want to keep it all, the B+ spelling papers and the dozens of drawings. Every paper is a masterpiece! But when it’s time to start paring down the overwhelming pile of school papers try a few of these tactics to make it easier.

  • Get your kid involved! Have them pick out their top 10 favorites to keep in a file folder for the school year. For all you know they will have little sentimental attachment and may end up decluttering more than you thought.
  • If getting your kid involved is a no go, then give yourself the same task. Pick the top 10 favorites and file away.
  • If you can’t part with it I still totally get it! But maybe it’s ok to part with it off the fridge if you’re feeling overwhelmed with clutter. Turn the art into a fun scrapbook so you and your kids can still enjoy it, but in a more organized and neat way!

02 | GREETING CARDS: If you have a huge stack of greeting cards you would like to part with but just can’t, try some of these ideas to help you.

  • Go through the cards and declutter ones from friends you no longer talk to, or estranged family members.
  • If the sentiment in the card is not sincere then let it go.

03 | MEMORABILIA: Movie stubs, scribbled notes on napkins, museum brochures, old plane tickets. We all collect these things, but there is a time and place when it’s time to declutter and now is that time!

  • Compare your memorabilia. If you bought a vase from that museum you visited, then declutter the brochure.
  • Has the memory faded without seeing the item? Do you still remember your first date without the ticket stub? The value of a memory is not always tied to a physical possession!

Related Read

How to Get Organized Using Binders!

STEP THREE | How do you organize your papers?

Once you’ve thoroughly decluttered through all of you papers it is time to create an organizing system that will last.

The best way to do this is to identify two major zones in your home in which you need an organizing solution for paper clutter.

Zone 1: How to organize mail clutter.

Organizing your incoming mail pile doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow some of the simple steps below to create a solution that works for you.

01 | Designate an area in your home.

02 | Use organizing products that you’ll love to use! Paper trays, mail organizing bins, or wall mounted organizers.

03 | Create & label three or more sections to sort the mail properly. Labels like in, out, file, action needed, coupons, and receipts can help designate a bin for every type of incoming paper clutter.

04 | Start developing a new mail habit. Toss the junk and sort through it all and place in its proper spot immediately.

Zone 2: How to organize your papers & documents.

Everyone will have a different need depending on how many papers you have to keep & file away. If you have a lot, a full sized filing cabinet may be in order. If you only have a little, than a simple box or accordion file system could do.

01 | Pick out what type of organizing system will work.

A traditional filing cabinet, file boxes, or even binders!

02 | Create categories or sections for the papers you are keeping. The best way to do this is to start laying similar papers in piles to determine what your categories are.

03 | Take the extra step to make your files clean, beautiful, and functional. A fresh set of file folders and some printed tab labels can create a lovely space that you’ll want to keep organized.

STEP FOUR | How to control your paper clutter.

OK, you’ve decluttered and organized all the paper clutter in your home. Now is the time to control it!

What does controlling your paper clutter mean exactly?

Brining in less and creating a habit to keep it from overwhelming your home again!

Ideas of how to eliminate extra paper clutter.

  • Don’t use the food ads that come in the mail? Look online for the name of the local institution that distributes them to your neighborhood. You can go on their website and take your address off the mailing list.
  • There are services you can enroll in to reduce the Presorted Standard Mail (aka. junk mail) that you get every day.
  • Opt for paperless billing on statements that you don’t need to get in the mail if you pay online.
  • Ask cashiers to toss your receipt if you know you will not need it.

Ideas on how to create a paper clutter control habit.

  • Sort your mail immediately.
  • Choose a day of the week to clear out your mail drop zone.
  • Use the same notepad for notes instead of scattered bits of paper.
  • Keep paper off the fridge.
  • Purge through your paper filing system every 6 months.

Let’s re-cap!

  1. Declutter all of your paper clutter before you try to organize it.
  2. Create a mail drop zone.
  3. Find a filing system that you’ll love to use.
  4. Control how much paper clutter enters your home.
  5. Create new habits that will help you control your paper clutter for good!

Having a home free from mounds of paper clutter will be a game changer!

Take the steps to take back control of your home and stay organized permanently.

Happy Decluttering!

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