Of all the clutter that ends up in our homes, I think paper clutter can quickly take over if not managed properly, especially if you have kids. My goodness…kids bring in more paper from school than the mail does each week, right?
There is junk mail, bills, important documents, school work, school papers, flyers and a non-stop stream of stuff that doesn’t fit in any category. If one of your goals for 2015 is to find a way to manage it all, here are some tips to get you started on the right foot as well as pointers on how to keep it there.
Get Rid of Paper Clutter Forever…use these tips!
Don’t let it come in your house. One way to do this is to use the opt-out tool on DMAchoice.org. This will stop a vast majority of the mail you get that is ads and other things you are not requesting. You can also check out Catalog Choice from EcoCycle as well. Both of these services are like the Do Not Call list of junk mail. If you move, you will likely need to update the info on these sites as well since the blacklisting is usually only tied to an address.
Make it easy to sort. Buy some paper organization tools like those that hang on the wall or are in a very easy place in your home. Make a pact to go through this stack at least once a week and immediately shred anything that is not needed right now or in the future. If you make it easy to sort your paperwork, you are more likely to do it. There is no need for a large and complicated filing system in most homes. Just a few folders and bins that are easy to reach. If you are looking for a filing system, the Freedom Filer System is a great option. Check out my review here.
Don’t bring home paperwork you don’t need. All of us do this. We go to a play or movie, a home, and garden show, on vacation or anywhere else that we might gather paper and we bring it home not really needing to. Before you take handbills or flyers, make sure it is something you actually need. If you find yourself with some, don’t even bring them in the house. Recycle them right away.
Use technology to help you remember dates, not paper. When your child brings home reminders for things at school, don’t hold onto the paperwork. If it is something, you want to take part in or need to attend, just immediately set up a reminder on your phone for it and shred the paper.
Keep papers in one area of your home. If you have papers in the kitchen, living room, on your desk or shoved in various drawers, you are bound to lose track easily. Trust me…I used to do this all.the.time. If you are doing the same, I’m sure you know…it doesn’t work well. Come up with a centralized location to handle papers as they come in. It will save your sanity!
Only keep certain receipts. If you are like me, you end up with receipts for everything from groceries to a single stamp you bought that isn’t work-related. Only keep the receipts that matter such as ones that have larger purchases or household items like clothing until you are sure you don’t need the receipt anymore. Also, keep anything business related. Other than that, shred receipts immediately or don’t take them at all at the register.
Do you have a paper clutter issue at home? Have you found some ways to deal with it? Let me know in the comments!