Are your counters and tables covered in paper?
It comes from every source imaginable: mail, school, kids’ projects, print outs, reminders, the list goes on and on.
Here’s a quick list of 7 ways to get your paper clutter under control.
Immediately sort your mail. Have a space for three categories: keep, recycle and shred. Anything with personal information should go to the shred box. Anything, like impersonal fliers, can be recycled. The keep pile is temporary, as it will need to be homed again. Sort as soon as you bring in your mail.
When cleaning up paper clutter: Any mail that has personal identifiers on it should be shredded or destroyed. More great tips ahead! Click To Tweet
Hang a piece of twine along a wall. A good spot is in the hallway, or in the kids’ room or playroom. Using clothes pins, have the kids choose the pieces they wish to display. When the “string” is full, it’s time to take some older pieces down, and put up new ones. (Mom or Dad can offer to store these pieces. Where they are stored is up to you!)
Tear out any articles, pictures or recipes you might like to try or to look at again. By keeping only the pages of the magazine that you are interested in, you can recycle the remainder. Be sure to put the curated pages in a binder or somewhere that you will be able to review them again.
Reminder: remove your personal information from the cover of the magazine! The labels show your name, address and account number, and sometimes that’s enough to get into a distributer’s database and get your information. Cut it off and shred that portion, if nothing else.
If you have a scanner, you can scan your bills and toss them. Be sure to write down any confirmation numbers for payments before you scan them. After scanning, you should make sure the bills are destroyed. Either shred the paper, or (if your municipality allows) use them as kindling for a bonfire. Just be sure that the wind doesn’t take the bills away!
Tip: if you are scanning and saving your bills, use subheadings so you can find them again. I also have a dedicated USB drive just for my financials.
Here’s how I set mine up:
>>>18.06.01 (this tells me the bill was dated June 1, 2018, and the next one will follow numerically. If you name them by month, they will be alphabetical, not by date.)
>>>18.08.01 (and so on)
If you are anything like me, I have washi tape, stickers, paper, and more. I keep it all together in a plastic tub. When I want to work on projects, I take out the plastic tub. This keeps my supplies safe from being used or destroyed.
(OK… when I started to work on this piece, I had a tub. Now… it’s more like three. At least they are contained!)
Consider getting a few bins, and labelling them to differentiate what is in each one. You could have one of washi supplies, one of markers, one of paper, etc. Your own collection will dictate how many you require.
Be tough! If the garbage and recycling day is upon you, and you have not read the newspaper, toss it! If the week has started, there’s a good chance you will not think of it again until the new paper has arrived. Check the fliers for any good inserts (coupons, big savings notices, etc.), and then release it to the wild… the recycling wild, that is! Don’t let those sit around, as we both know no one reads two week old newspapers.
Coupons: If you take any out of the newspaper, immediately sort them and put them in your wallet or with the grocery list. If you leave them on the hot spot, you will never remember to bring them shopping with you. If you are like me, you will find them again in three months, and they will be expired. Be proactive!
Receipts are difficult to get rid of, as you need the original for some returns or warranties. Keep a small box for the important ones (like appliances, gifts, more expensive items). The rest should be divided into two. If they are just simple receipts (ie: trip to the convenience store) you can toss them. If they are something more elaborate, or credit card receipts or something you feel would be beneficial to have a record of, I recommend scanning them or taking a picture with your cell phone, and saving them to a separate external drive specifically for financial documents and records. Use something simple to save them, like: 20180526.PigglyWiggly.vacuum. This would tell you the date of the purchase (like with the bills), where you purchased it, and what the item is.
These are the most common paper piles I see in my home. What does yours look like?