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Don’t let clutter ruin your life.
If you hate that feeling of utter dread you get when you look at your kitchen counter and see all those random bills, worksheets and newsletters, it’s time to take control.
Though it can seem overwhelming at first, once you’ve got a system in place, all you have to do is stick to it.
We rounded up some of the best tips and systems for organizing paper to help declutter your life.
1. Designate A Pending Folder
One of the biggest hurdles to cleaning up can be not wanting to put something away until it’s been dealt with (think: unpaid bills). By creating a pending folder, you’re able to store pieces of paper (aka, get them off the table or counter) and come back to them later, according to Psychology Today. If you know right where all of your pending projects or bills are, you can visit that place when you’ve got the time.
Stick something like this file organizer on your wall, and you’ll clear up counter space while staying organized.
2. Clean Up Your Desk Every Night
At work, it’s pretty common to have papers strewn across your desk, especially if you’re working on a complex task. But make a commitment each night before you walk out the door to tidy your workspace. This type of routine organizing will help you wrap up your day in peace. And, just think of how good it will feel the next morning.
3. Sign Up For Online Bill Pay
Perhaps the easiest way to cut down on paper clutter in your house is to sign up for online bank statements and online bill pay. Your monthly bank statements will land in your inbox, where it’s a bit easier to manage clutter, and you’ll never have to worry about carving out time to pay bills each month—or late fees when you forget. Let modern technology remove some stress from your life.
4. Make Taxes A Breeze
Create a designated tax folder, binder, drawer, box or space in your home or office. When you receive tax-related documents and receipts, they automatically go into your storage area. Not only will this cut down on daily clutter, but it will also save you tons of time (and probably prevent a massive headache) when it comes time to do your taxes.
A Bowl Full of Lemons has some great tips for keeping all your tax-related documents in order.
5. Create An After-School Action Center
Banish the days of finding crumpled overdue book notices in the bottom of your kid’s book bag! Create an after-school action center and get your kids involved in keeping your house free of paper clutter.
Organized Chaos created this amazing system for the moment your kids walk in the door after school. If mom or dad has to do something (bake cupcakes, sign a form), that paper goes into mom’s action box. Homework or projects that need completing go in the child’s action box. Report cards, graded homework and works of art go on the “smile wall.”
6. Keep Important School Papers In Binders
While we’re on the topic of school papers, how in the world are we supposed to know which ones to keep and which ones are okay to toss?
Lisa Woodruff at Organize 365 has four simple rules: Keep all art, keep all stories, keep anything with your child’s handprint and keep certificates.
Everything else—all of the worksheets, planners, notes—goes in the trash. Create one binder per child to stash all of the important stuff. Of course, when your child gets older, you’ll want to start keeping transcripts and scholarship information for college application season.
7. Make A “Sunday Basket”
Get into a routine by picking one day of the week to sit down and sort through all the to-do items on your list. If something can wait until Sunday, throw it in the basket. But, make sure you actually deal with this accumulation once a week—don’t let it pile up. It’s also a good time to ask yourself questions such as “What needs to go in the car for this week?” and “What’s on the calendar this week?” according to Organize 365.