It isn’t hard to rid your home of paper clutter. In fact, in this post, I’m going to teach you how to organize paper clutter, so that you can easily keep up with it! If you follow my exact instructions, you’ll never have to worry about paper clutter again!
The Type A personality in me loves systems! Having systems in place helps remove any decisions that aren’t necessary from your daily routine. Systems remove the wasted time of wondering what to do with something and provides a solution that you don’t have to think about.
While it isn’t particularly a favorite thing for Type B personalities, like my husband, it helps a lot in maintaining a tidy home. My husband has come around to loving it, which tells me they work well for anyone!
Having systems for your paperwork eliminates paper piles from accumulating in various places within your home. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to organize paper clutter already within your home, then I’ll share an easy system to keep the clutter gone for good!
How to Organize Paper Clutter In Your Home
Step 1 // Gather all of your paper and sort it into piles
The first thing you want to do is gather and sort the paperwork that isn’t filed away in your home. You’ll want to put them into the following categories, if applicable:
- Junk Mail
- Necessary Mail
- Kids’ artwork
- Owners Manuals
If you have anything else that doesn’t fit into these categories, then make a separate pile for them.
Step 2 // Declutter each paper pile
Second, you need to work through each pile to determine what is needed and what can be tossed [recycled]. Here are some tips to identify what is and isn’t needed.
Only keep what you need for tax documents or for balancing your checkbook. The receipts that are necessary for tax documents should be put into a file, folder, or envelope until you can digitize them.
The receipts for balancing your checkbook need the same system but note that this isn’t going to be permanent. If you don’t need the receipts beyond balancing your checkbook toss them.
When it comes to junk mail, there should be a number or website you can visit to remove your address from their list. This takes some effort, but the reduction in the mail you receive is worth it!
You can also visit this FTC article for additional ways to reduce your junk mail. It also has ways to reduce telemarketer phone calls and junk emails, if you want that information.
When it comes to bank statements and bills, odds are paperless billing is an option. You may have to visit their website to set this up, but once you do, say hello to a reduction in your mail! [I was finally able to go paperless with my insurance invoices, which eliminates 24 pieces of mail annually from coming into our home.]
This may not seem like a lot, but when you add up your electric, water, insurance, bank statements, etc., it makes a HUGE impact on your incoming paperwork. Plus, you can receive all of these via email and store them in a special folder within your email system for safekeeping.
If you have a place to display your kids’ artwork, do so until the next piece comes through the door, then switch them out to display the newest one. Keep your favorites in a folder or scrapbook, and remove the others from your home.
Please keep in mind that the artwork is made for you, not for them. Your kids aren’t going to want each and every art workpiece they’ve ever created when you decide to give them to your kids. Be mindful of this, because it can really reduce how much you’re storing and allowing to take up space.
Flyers / Handouts
I want to encourage you to snap photos of flyers instead of accepting them. This eliminates the need to bring them home in the first place.
For the ones you already have, snap photos of the information you need, mark them as a favorite for easy access, and toss the flyer/handout. You can also mark them in your calendar if taking a photo doesn’t seem like the best option for you.
Most owner’s manuals can be found online. Download them onto a hard drive or cloud-based storage [for safe keeping], then toss the physical copy.
The only reason you should keep an owner’s manual is if you cannot find it online.
Step 3 // Set up your organization system for the papers that remain
Once you’ve worked through all of the piles, see what remains, because this is where your in-home system creation starts. Yes, it was a lot of work to get to this point, but moving forward, I promise you’ll thank me!
You’ll want to have a file or folder for the different categories you need. Only create categories based on the piles that remain and how you would like to organize them. Don’t make additional categories that you think you may need in the future. Stick to the things you need right now.
Once you have that done, put each pile into their coordinated category. Then CELEBRATE, because you’re officially organized!
Step 4 // Create a system that keeps paper clutter away
Now that you’ve reduced and organized your paperwork through all the tips provided, here is my simple system for new paperwork coming into your home:
- Deal with your paperwork as soon as you get home.
- See if you need to call any solicitors to be removed from their mailing list, move to paperless billing, and what can be tossed.
- Put anything you’ll need for tax purposes or checkbook balancing in their appropriate file or folder.
- Rotate the kids’ artwork, if needed. Remember for the piece[s] you remove, file away or remove completely from your home.
- At the end/beginning of each month, do these two things:
- Balance your checkbook and toss what is no longer needed.
- Digitize the receipts you need for tax purposes and toss the physical copy.
Having this system in place and working through it each day will ensure that your paper is never cluttering your home again!
Additional tips for how to organize paper clutter //
Tip 1 //
I do NOT recommend a basket to store paperwork for sorting later. This opens the door for forgetting to make bill payments and keeping the clutter cycle going.
Tip 2 //
If you aren’t excited about your organizing system, change it! If you’re putting things in a filing cabinet, but you dread going into when needed, then try a multi-pocket folder. Don’t change what you do daily, just change the environment.
Tip 3 //
When in doubt about what you need for tax purposes, contact your CPA. Since everyone’s taxes are different, I’m not going to suggest anything specifically that you need to keep. Just note that you can store these things digitally versus physically.
I hope you learned exactly how to organize paper clutter in your home and are excited to get it all decluttered! If you have any questions, let me know below in the comments.
Keeping your papers organized isn’t difficult when you have a simple system in place. Pair that with consistency, and you’ll never have to worry about paper clutter again!
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