How to Organize Paper Clutter

April 24, 2019

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure.

 

 

It's day 24 of neatntiny.com's 30-Day Spring Tidying Challenge

If you're just joining us, check out the link above explaining how it works and the links below for what we've covered so far.

 

Don't feel like decluttering the whole house? No problem! Just pick and choose:

 

WEEK 1

Day 1: Kitchen Counters

Day 2: Under the Sink

Day 3: Dining Area

Day 4: Cutlery & Utensils Drawers

Day 5: Tupperware Drawer

Day 6: Remainder of Kitchen Drawers, Cabinets & Pantry

Day 7: Fridge & Freezer

 

WEEK 2

Day 8: Front Entryway

Day 9: Mudroom/Back Entry

Day 10: Catch Up

Day 11: Powder Room

Day 12: Living Room

Day 13: Walk-In Closet

Day 14: Master Bedroom

 

WEEK 3

Day 15: Laundry Room

Day 16: Linen Closet

Day 17: Home Office

Day 18: Bathroom(s)

Day 19: Kids' Clothes/Closets

Day 20: Kids' Rooms

Day 21: Kids' Toy Storage

Day 22: Catch Up

Day 23: Cleaning Supply Closet

 

 

Today I'll share with you our system for dealing with paper clutter!

If you haven't already, please subscribe for a free, printable 30-Day Spring Tidying Challenge schedule! 

 

 

 

So, this one doesn't follow the eight-step decluttering framework of the rest of the tidying challenge. Instead, I'll show you how to set up a system to organize and deal with paper clutter (i.e. bills, receipts, school work, etc.) as it flows into the home.

 

 

Set up three paper 'stations': 

 

i) Short-Term Storage (i.e. landing strip)

 

ii) Needs Urgent Attention 

 

iii) Long-Term Storage

 

 

 

i) Short-Term Storage

 

The short term storage area should be near your front or back entry and should be organized by family member. Ours is near the back entry/mudroom. If you've been following along long enough, you'll know this fits with my M.O. of keeping the front entry as clutter-free as possible:

 

 

We use a set of hanging file holders as short-term storage. Each family member has a designated compartment; we have a 'squad' folder for anything that concerns the house or the entire family.

 

 

 

Examples of things that go in short-term storage: my son's school newsletters or permission slips and mail that hasn't been opened yet. However, for the most part, I suggest dealing with mail immediately. I open ours upon stepping into the house. This way any junk mail goes straight into the recycling instead of lingering around. As for bills, I'll show you how we deal with those in the 'needs urgent action' section below.

 

 

As you can see, the 'short-term storage' spot is almost completely out of site, yet conveniently located in our kitchen and right by the back entrance, which we pass several times a day.

 

 

 

 

Shop This Idea

 

 

 Wall-Mounted File Holder ($34.99, Amazon.com).

 

 

ii) Needs Urgent Attention 

 

For things that need immediate attention, like bills and license renewal notifications, there's our bulletin board in the DIY command centre, directly across from the 'short term storage' folders in the kitchen:

 

 

It's my preference to open and pay bills as they enter the house (the so-called 'touch once rule'). But, when I can't do it immediately (the kids-get-in-the-way-of-everything law), I pin them up on the board and do it once I have the time.

 

 

This little corner is conveniently located in the kitchen and you see it as you enter the house from the back/mudroom, but it's completely hidden when you're in the main living space!

 

 

 

iii) Long-Term Storage

 

For papers that have been dealt with but need to be kept long-term (i.e. receipts for tax purposes, home insurance information), we have a file cabinet in the basement organized by category (ex. 'taxes,' 'home insurance,' etc.). I'd show you, but truth be told, our basement's a hot mess right now--we've been piling stuff in there to prep for our mud room reno, so the filing cabinet's temporarily blocked off!

 

Shop This Idea

 

 

 Three Drawer File Cabinet ($89.99, Amazon.com).

 

 

For my son's school work creations, we have a clear plastic bin, similar to the ones we keep his toys in. He's in kindergarten right now, so there's not much internal bin organization going on.  I'm planning to set up something like this, from Lindsay's Sweet World:

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to be able to limit this to1-2 bins for his entire school career! Not keeping every little piece is the challenge!

 

 

 Shop This Idea

 

 

 

 

 

Set of 4 Portable, Clear File Folders ($65.99, Amazon.com).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging File Folders 25-Pack ($9.99, Amazon.com).

 

 

So, that's how we organize our paper clutter! Check back on day 25 for how we organize our junk drawers!  Don't forget to check out my One Room Challenge makeover!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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