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Whether you are a businessman who has piles and stacks of paperwork on your desk, a college student with a huge list of assignments and homework, or just a normal person who receives a crazy amount of weekly mail, tackling paper clutter can be a huge headache.
Paper clutter can accumulate for a variety of reasons but the end result is the same, it creates a big mess. And between the mails and other paperwork, it might have happened that you were not able to find an important paper or bill on time because you had no clue where you put them. Well, you’re not alone and we have all been there at some point in time (at least, I was).
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to organize your paperwork and get rid of it once and for all. And once you have an effective system for organizing papers in place, you never have to worry about paper clutter again! These tips are super easy and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner!
Minimize Junk Mail
Those unwanted offer catalogs and promotional flyers contribute the most to unnecessary paper clutter. The first step you should take is to reduce or get rid of junk mail altogether. All you need to do is to call the retailers you don’t wish to receive mail from and they will get you off their list. In addition, you can have a look at the resources provided by the Federal Trade Commission to get yourself removed from some direct marketers and other companies who send unwanted offers through the mail.
Stop Grabbing Random Papers
Stopping junk mails will only do half the job if you grew up before everything was online. You don’t need to save every takeout menu slipped under your front door as everything is just a click away.
So, you should make an effort to stop grabbing promotional papers like flyers, business cards, etc. which are of no use or come in category ‘I might need this’. Doing this will help you a lot as you’ll have less to organize and declutter.
Organize Your Mail
Since you have cut down on junk mails and stopped bringing unnecessary paper, it’s time to organize all the future mail you will receive. All you need to do is to get a mail organizer and sort the papers right away the moment you get them in a mail organizer. I know it’s tempting to just pile them on the counter but taking a minute to sort your mail right now will save you a lot of headache in the long run.
If you want to go the DIY route then all you need to do is get some wire baskets and chalkboard frames from Amazon. Now glue the frames to wire baskets and hang them on the wall to have your own mail sorting system ready. You can check out the tutorial here.
Go Digital Wherever Possible
This one is pretty obvious but worth mentioning as it will drastically reduce your paper clutter. An important contributor to paper clutter is monthly bills. It’s 2019 and most of your bills and records are easily available online. In fact, some companies might even give you a discount for opting for paperless statements.
All that’s needed is to go to the company’s website and request the service. You can also arrange for automatic renewal for magazines online, you can even score lower subscription rates as they run all sort of offers online. So, go digital or paperless with your billing wherever possible.
Get Rid Of What You Don’t Need
Maybe you haven’t tossed out some old papers because you think “they might be useful” and you are not sure how long to keep them. While there are certain old documents you really need to keep for years but there are some which you can throw away in a few months. You can grab this amazing FREE cheat sheet to help you with this.
If the papers you don’t need contains any personal information like your address, etc. shred them using a shredding machine. It might seem like a small extra step but is important to maintain privacy and be safe. If you don’t have much to shred, you can rip the papers in small pieces with your hands. Easy!
Categorize your Paperwork in Drawers
Get a pack of drawers to store and organize all of the paper clutter in your house as per category. This keeps all the papers handy when you need them and you can find important papers on time. First, categorize the papers and have the same type of papers grouped together e.g. bills, and then put them into different drawers. After that, don’t forget to write the name on chalkboard labels in the front so you can easily find what you need and on time.
It also eliminates the unsightly mess of papers scattered or stacked on counters and desks by keeping them organized and hidden behind colored drawers.
Devise a color-coded filing system
Take a large container and put all of your paperwork in there. But, before you put them there, organize every different group of paper in a specific folder with a unique color and label. For example, you can use the green folder for taxes & Income, the dark blue folder for insurance, red for Bills & Banking, etc.
By arranging the folders based on the color helps you to easily find a particular file when you need it. For the labels, you can simply cut colored papers into small pieces, write the title of the files there, and stick them to the folders.
Another idea is to use simple files that say “Today,” “This Week,” or “This Month” and organize papers accordingly. This method lets you keep a tab on what needs to be done immediately and what can be put off for another day without it slipping through the cracks.
Consolidate with Binders
Binders are a great way to organize and keep your bills, forms, and papers neatly sorted. You can have binders in varying formats such as one per family member or per year, making it simple to locate documents as needed. For even better organization, you can also have binders of different colors for different family members.
If you are a student, then you can organize your assignments in one binder, homework in another, progress reports in other, etc. or organize as per subjects in different binders (When I was a student, I use to have one per subject). Make Sure to keep them in a convenient location to ensure proper and frequent use of this system. You can buy the binders today on Amazon.
If you are responsible for cooking at home or just like to cook, you can create a recipe binder to keep all your recipes organized in one place and you don’t have printouts of recipes adding to the paper clutter.
Another option for Recipes
If you don’t mind going paperless, then organize your recipes on Pinterest instead of printing them out. You can sort recipes by different categories on Pinterest by making different boards. For example, you can have “Dinners”, “Quick Breakfast”, “Healthy Recipes”, “Desserts”, etc. This makes everything easier and it’s like creating your own digital cookbook.
Set Aside a Day for Paper
Now, whether you have filing systems or binders, they still need to be maintained. Their job is to make your home look clean by organizing paper clutter but it’s your job to keep them organized. So, set aside a day once or twice a month specifically to go through all the papers so as to keep things clean and organized.
And it won’t take your entire day and will take an hour or two at max depending on the amount of paper you have. You can put it on your calendar as a regular appointment to remind yourself that it needs to get done. This way your filing systems also won’t be cluttered as you regularly get rid of papers which are not required.
If you are a parent, then this one is especially for you as most parents have a hard time organizing their child’s artwork. Now, you want to display them proudly but there is no space on the wall and fridge. Instead of displaying them there, make a photo book to keep all their pieces of artwork together. This will get rid of paper clutter and at the same time will keep their artwork safe. You can keep all the books accumulated over the year organized together in bins (one per child).
Conquer your paper clutter problem today by using these simple, yet effective ideas to organize your paper which will make your life so much easier!
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