Do you ever feel like you are drowning in mounds of paper clutter? Your purse is overflowing with receipts, you have old coupon inserts everywhere, and it seems like every drawer is crammed full of paper!
Paper clutter is one of the most challenging types of clutter as it accumulates faster than we can control it. If you want to organize your paper clutter once and for all, we are going to give you a few great systems to organize your paper clutter.
The first step to getting your paper clutter organized is to stop any unnecessary papers from entering your home in the future. Start by going paperless with your bank statements, bills, and any other documents that give you the option. If you think you may need to save a copy, save your paperless statement as a PDF and keep it in a folder on your computer. If you need it, it will be there.
You can take this a step further by forgoing written checks and paying your bills online too. You’ll save money on checks, and you can pay your bills faster! Not only will you no longer need as many checks, but you don’t need to waste money on envelopes or stamps either!
The Great Purge
It’s time for the hardest part of this entire process, gathering every last bit of paper in your home. This is going to be a lot of paper; I can promise you that. Check every nook and cranny of your home for instruction manuals, flyers, take-out menus, and scraps of paper.
Once you have every last bit of paper in your home, you can start going through it all. I like to keep it simple by sorting items into three piles: trash, scan and save. Begin sorting your paper into these three piles. Once we have them sorted into these piles, we’ll go through each one individually.
For the trash pile, you need to separate it into two more sections. The first is shred and the second is recycle. Anything that has your info on it should be shredded, and anything that doesn’t can be recycled.
This includes magazines and newspapers as well. If you’re not sure whether it needs to be shredded or thrown away, go ahead and shred it just in case.
For all essential documents that you think you may want a copy of before getting rid of it, go ahead and scan them onto your computer. I keep a folder on my laptop for scans and sort through it at the end of every month. If you need to do it more frequently, go ahead, but you shouldn’t have that many to scan each month.
Your save pile should be anything that you feel should be kept as a paper file. If you wanted to save it as a digital copy, go ahead and move it to the scan file now. You can further categorize these documents so they can be properly filed.
The easiest way to maintain the documents you have left is to keep them all in one place. To do this, you’ll need to create a filing system. Stock up on filing folders and separate all of your documents into categories. You can have subcategories for bigger categories such as finances or home. Once you have all your files in place, go ahead and file your documents into the most logical place.
Organizing Future Papers
To keep paper clutter from stacking up again, there are a few things you can do to manage it in the future. First, start by keeping a recycling bin near the front door. This will allow you to dispose of any junk mail that comes through the door immediately.
Next, keep a small desk organizer near the door for the rest of your papers. I organize them into three categories: action, file, and taxes. This makes it easy to keep up with papers and keep them from getting out of hand.
Paper doesn’t have to consume every space in your home! If you follow these tips, you will not only have organized systems for any incoming paper, but you won’t have stacks of papers waiting to be filed and sorted. Take control of your home and end the paper clutter cycle for good.
YOUR TURN: Do you have a filing system? Does it work for you? Let me know in the comments below!
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