STEPS TO STOP PAPER CLUTTER BEFORE IT STARTS

February 06, 2013

Tackling paper clutter can seem like a daunting task.  Especially since it seems like just as soon as you feel like you have a handle on it, more paper flows in from the mail, your child's school, a birthday party, your job, etc.  As in most organizing tasks, dealing with paper when it first enters the home rather than letting it pile up for another day is the best way to stay on top of it.  Here are some suggestions to help stop the paper clutter before it starts to pile up:

  • Get in the habit of going through your mail the minute your bring it into the house.  Decide what you need, what to shred (junk mail containing your address or any personal information), and what can be recycled (coupons, bulk mailing, catalogs, etc).  Hang up organizers like this from Thirty One Gifts are a great way to help you start your filing process if the office isn't your first stop on your way in.  Think about keeping your shredder near your door or in your kitchen to aid in immediate destruction of unwanted paper.  If you have no room for a shredder or don't own one, consider investing $10 in this ID Guard Stamp (seen above) to cover your address and personal information on documents before you put them in your recycling.
  • Read here how to stop junk mail from even entering your mailbox, let alone your kitchen or office.  Keeping excess paper from ever entering your home will help you get an immediate handle on your paper clutter.
  • Sign up for online statement delivery.  If you're worried you won't be able to access certain statements if necessary, set up folders and save the statements on your computer when they arrive each month.  You can always just access your previous statements online if need be but be aware that some companies will charge if you need access to those that are more than 12 months.
  • Cancel magazine subscriptions you don’t read.  They always trap you with those awesome offers that it seems silly to buy at the supermarket when you know you'll actually have the time to read it.  The problem is, paying for something that you never use is also kinda silly.  Plus information in many magazines can become outdated if you wait months to read it.  Figure out what you really have time to read and really WANT to read and only subscribe to those.

  • Put a limit on what to keep from kid’s schooling and artwork.  Designate a notebook or filebox with a  certain number of slots per grade and allow your child to only select enough of the important pieces from the year that will fit in the space.  For artwork, check out these awesome options from Schoolfolio (seen left) to keep larger art projects neat and contained.  Use a digital photo frame and take pictures of artwork to display rather than keeping every piece. 
  • Ask yourself if you REALLY need every single birthday card, birth announcement, Christmas card, Easter card, valentine etc.
Do you have ways that you control the paper clutter in your home?  What works for you and your family?  Comment below and share!

Next up, we'll talk about creating and maintaining a filing system and how to determine what stays and what goes. 

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