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



Day 10: Catch Up

Day 11: Powder Room

Day 12: Living Room


Day 15: Laundry Room

Day 16: Linen Closet

Day 17: Home Office

Day 18: Bathroom(s)

Day 20: Kids' Rooms

Day 22: Catch Up

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


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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.


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Wall-Mounted File Holder ($34.99,


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,


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

Hanging File Folders 25-Pack ($9.99,


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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