Learn how to eliminate paper clutter with these organization tips.
Figuring out how to eliminate paper clutter is key as our homes are constantly being fed more and more paper. Whether it is papers from school, mail, bills, or manuals, the paper is everywhere! This week in the Clear the Clutter Challenge, we are focusing on the office and papers!
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How to Eliminate Paper Clutter
I have been looking into ways to cut down on the paper clutter that tends to build in our home. In my search, I read some things by Marie Kondo that I found helpful!
Marie tells her readers to get rid of everything when it comes to paper, but she does make an exception for three categories (She shares in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).
- First, papers that are currently being used (papers for current projects, bills that need to be paid, items that need to be signed and returned, etc.)
- Second, papers that are needed for a limited time (warranties, policies, tax forms, etc.)
- Third, papers that need to be kept forever (social security cards, birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, etc.)
If papers do not fit into one of these categories, she says they can be discarded. I am using these three categories moving forward in eliminating paper clutter.
Step 1: Create a physical inbox for papers that need action.
Just as we have our email inbox, we can create a physical inbox. Below is a picture of what mine looks like. We do not have an office space in our home, so this works well on the kitchen counter to hold incoming papers.
I have 2 folders one is for the bills that need to be paid and the other is for the papers that need action. Every single paper that comes into our home is either recycled or put in one of these two folders.
Go through the inbox once a week. I have decided to do this on Saturdays. There is a reminder set in my phone and I take some time to go through the folders and place the papers where they need to go from there. The goal is to have the folder empty after this.
For the bills that need to be paid, my husband can grab this folder and go through it. You could have just one folder for your inbox or even a basket.
Step 2: Organize paper with a digital file box.
This is something that I recently started using. I take the papers that I do not need the original of, but may need one day, and scan them using Scannable app. From there, I store them in Evernote which is like a digital filing cabinet.
Step 3: Figure out a system for papers that need to be saved.
For papers that we need to save forever (birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license, etc), I am looking into getting a fireproof lockbox.
The papers that we may need to access more often are kept in a small file box that is easy to access.
Get rid of the manuals.
I recently did this and it was so helpful! After doing some research, I realized that most manuals can now be found online. Before you toss out a manual, double-check it online, but this can help get rid of the paper clutter!
Switch to electric billing.
One thing I have slowly been working on is moving everything to online billing. This helps eliminate the clutter and then you easily have access to past transactions online.
What about memories such as kids’ papers?
Currently, I am using a box for each child. However, I am currently looking for a good option. What I suggest is to only keep the papers from your kids that are meaningful.
I do use my command center to hold 3 clipboards (one per child). I then place any important papers that we may reference over the course of the school year here. This includes classroom information and sports schedules.
What are some ways you eliminate paper clutter in your home?
CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE CLEAR THE CLUTTER SERIES
Make sure to check out Jaclyn’s tips for a home office here!