Do you know what you are even supposed to do with any of the paper that you have in your home? Do you look at it and wonder if you are supposed to keep it or is it OK to bin it?
Sometimes it feels that there is so much paper that comes into our homes that it can feel like it is taking over. Don’t panic, follow these simple and easy tips to finally organize your paperwork and learn what you are supposed to do with it.
Where Does All The Paper Come From?
There are so many sources of paper coming into our homes that it becomes a battlefield and keeping it under control is tough. But where does it all come from?
The thing with paper is that it seems to multiply overnight but the truth is that paper comes into our homes and we put it down and don’t deal with it, we let junk mail build up, bills that need sorting just sit there even after they are paid.
We are too busy dealing with everything that we forget to take care of the smaller things and they can become a living nightmare. This is so true with paper, it seems to spread into every corner of our homes, but how do you tame the paper beast?
Where Does Paper Clutter hide
You might be surprised as to where paper can end up, from the kitchen table to laying on a table in the living room. Having one place to put paper makes it so much easier to deal with and find.
You might want to think about a family organizer, there are so many different types of organizers or command centers for your home that it can become a place to put those important items when you or your family comes into the home with some sort of paper.
Having a command center for your kids’ school papers or just a pile of paper as you come in the door is a great way to ensure that each piece of paper is going to be sorted and processed according to the systems you have set up.
Multiple Ways To Organize Paper
There are so many different uses for paper and we need it in our homes in a number of different ways.
This means you need different storage solutions for different types of paper that comes into your home but you also have to learn which one to use for what paper.
There are different ways to organize the paper in your home, it has to be simple and it needs to work for you and your family. The different storage options are:
Paper Organizing Products
Let’s look at these options in more detail and what we could use them for:
Filing cabinet: You might have a filing cabinet for legal documents, especially if it protects the contents from damage. However, if you are living in the modern world the chances are high that you actually don’t need to have one of these in your home. But if you do or you want one, make sure that it’s organized. There is nothing worse than a messy filing cabinet. Don’t forget to pick up the right size of file folder, you might be surprised to find there are more than one!
Folders and binders: I thought I would put these two together as they are very similar. These are for items that you want / need to keep and you want to be able to refer to them at some point. So they need to be accessible and organized to make searching for an item easy.
Boxes: I used boxes for my children’s art work and other items they would bring home from school. It meant that it kept these items contained and easy to access for the children when they wanted to add more items to the box.
Notice boards: Are great for pinning notices too. The bin collection dates the invitation to the party. Things that you need to remember and act upon.
Recycle bin: Great for those items that you don’t want but they also can’t have any personal information showing.
Shredder: A must for anything with personal information that you don’t want. Envelopes are a perfect example for the shredder.
Related Article: 5 Ways To Organize Using The Ikea Raskog Cart
Creating A Filing System
You have to think about the needs of you and your family, finding a way to deal with the incoming paper is so important.
You have to judge each piece of paper for what information it holds. School papers are different from receipts and tax documentation and they all need sorting differently.
Which is why you have to know what you need to save like birth certificates and what you can safely throw away.
Top Tip For Organizing Paper Clutter
By separating the different types of paper clutter that ends up in your home and having systems in place for all of them makes it easier to identify where things belong and what needs to happen to the item in question.
A top tip for organizing paper clutter is to work out the different categories of paper that you have coming into your home, once you know where things go it’s easier to make a decision. By having categories for your paper, it makes it easier to know what you need to do with each item and often it doesn’t have to be just you, teach other family members to work out where the paper they bring into the home belongs.
Categories to think about:
Once you know what type of paper comes into your home you are then able to take the appropriate action without much thought, it becomes an automatic reaction to the paper that’s in your hand.
But How Do You Know If You Should Keep It?
This is a question that is difficult to answer under some circumstances, if for example you run a business then you need to check with the government where you live to see what you need to keep for tax purposes.
If you get legal documents like birth certificate or marriage licence then you need to keep these safe.
As for bills that you have paid it depends on where you live if you need to keep a paper copy for your taxes. Work out how long you need to keep the paperwork and then put a date in your calendar for when these can go.
If you have a receipt for an item that you have purchased and it comes with a guarantee you will need to provide evidence that you purchase the product. This means you need to keep that receipt safe for as long as the guarantee is.
You need to evaluate the pieces of paper and make a decision on each one, the more you do this the easier it will become knowing what to keep and what to get rid of.
What Is A Paper Organization System?
It has to be a system for working out what are the important documents that you need to keep and if another family member needs to see the document before it’s filed or removed from the home.
It has to be a simple system otherwise long-term it’s not going to work. You might want to convert a desk drawer into a system to hold household paper or you might just use a magazine holder, the choice is yours and it has to be simple so you can find items you are looking for.
But just as important as the system is, legal documents and items that you want to protect need to be in a secure location but also easy access in case you need these documents in an emergency.
Have you thought of creating a digital filing cabinet, so you have very limited actual paper at home?
I have some friends Donny and Abby who have this amazing article all about how they organize their paperwork on the cloud and this reduces the amount of paper they have in their home.
Why Get Rid Of Your Paper?
Paper that we don’t want or need is clutter, other paper might need reading, scheduling an appointment but in the end it too can become clutter.
If we want to keep clutter to a minimum we need to think differently about the paper in our homes and the best way to ensure that we aren’t keeping paper we don’t need. Some of the paper like bank statements can be accessed online and we don’t necessarily need the paper version if the electronic one exists.
You don’t need to store paper copies of bills that are paid online, you don’t need to print out a copy of your payslip if you can access all the information online. In a lot of ways having a file cabinet isn’t necessary for the modern home.
Tips For Paper Clutter
Sometimes we just need to think about our options and how we act when paper turns up in our home.
- If you have recycling or a shredder to deal with paper you don’t need take action as soon as possible to ensure that it doesn’t become so overwhelming that you don’t know what to do.
- Does your child brings home a picture from school, send some of them to family members, have envelopes written out and the artwork goes straight in.
- If the paper is for the recycle bin, then don’t let it sit on the counter a moment longer than it needs too! Drop it in the recycling bin.
- What if you need to take action, put it where it belongs until this action has been taken. If it is an appointment, put it in your diary.
- If you need to pay a bill, put it together with your budget so you can tackle it without having to hunt paperwork down.
Related Article: Why Is The Planner Pad So Good
How To Declutter Paper Piles
If you have piles of paperwork cluttering up your counters or in your home office, it’s time to take action.
Know one is going to do it for you, so you need to set up a time where you can spend five or ten minutes a day going through the pile of paperwork and get it sorted.
If you have a lot of paper to go through it isn’t possible to do this in one go, so take your time and tackle small sections at a time.
Try separating out your paperwork into categories, it’s then easier to tackle that small cIategory and get it put away.
Why Tackle The Paper Clutter?
The trouble with paper is the way it can hide in plain sight and before you realize there is a massive pile to deal with.
Not only does paper clutter look messy and untidy, it also can hide some important things too.
By taking your time and sorting out your paper into categories, will help you focus on where the paper clutter needs to go and what needs to happen with every piece of paper that enters your home.
Paper is something that we tend to have a lot coming into our homes, don’t let it become a problem, keep tackling it every single day.
What Else Can Lurk In Paper Clutter
If there is too much clutter in our homes the chances of finding insects and vermin can increase. This isn’t good for your health or the health of your family.
Make it a point on a regular basis to go through the different areas of your home looking for household papers that are important and need processing into your system.
Make a point of dealing with the incoming mail on a daily basis so that you are taking those steps to deal with the paper clutter before it becomes a problem.
If you don’t have time to tackle it daily have a mail organizer so you have a place to put the mail as it arrives and you know where it is when you need to tackle it.
Don’t let it build up to a point where it is potentially creating a home for another animal or insect to set up their home.
Pro Tip For Going Digital
But what if you don’t want paper clutter in your home at all?
What if you want to have just a digital copy of the paperwork in your home and not have to think about the physical paper anymore?
This is something that’s becoming popular but you are worrying about storing your data on the cloud and the potential data breach is something that concerns you a lot. I don’t want you to worry because if digital is something you have been thinking about, transforming your home into a paperless one is easier than you might ever have imagined.
I want you to take a look at my friend’s Donny and Abby, they have a course teaching you how to go paperless. They have been paperless for over 10 years and don’t intend to go back to having paper clutter in their home again. Check out their course and the current price for Paperless Made Simple and see what it can do for you and your home.
Let’s think back to all that we’ve learned along the way.
We’ve looked at where paper can hide in plain sight, how we bring paper into our homes and having a place for it to go.
Getting rid of the paper that we don’t need and sorting paper that we need to keep for the near future .
We’ve even touched on the topic of going digital and not having any paper at home unless they are the legal documents that you need to keep.