Tackle the Paper Clutter

It’s a well documented fact that I can’t stand paper.  I was super thrilled this year, when my daughter’s school said they were going to try to eliminate the amount of paper that comes to the house and send all announcements through email!  Yippie!!  Then my daughter’s class took it one step further and created a blog to give homework assignments and announcements!  Double yippie!  Even with the digital improvements in my life, there is still a ton of paper.  So what is the best way to tackle the influx of paper?

paper clutter


ONE Inbox –

First set up an inbox.  Any and all paper funnels through this central inbox.  Place the inbox near the front door or garage door, whichever door you use most.  As soon as someone walks in with a piece of paper, be it mail, or something that’s coming home from school… it ALL goes in the inbox.

Every Night –

Sort through the inbox, toss out junk and things you don’t need, then sort the rest of the paperwork into the appropriate folders

  1. Bills to pay
  2. Documents to File/Scan/Transfer information from
  3. Response Required
  4. Completed (typically school work, tests/reports/etc that your kids bring home, also anything else like baby announcements, and other things you want to keep, but don’t need to do anything with right now)

Every Morning –

Check through the “bills to pay” folder and the “response required” folders to make sure if something is due you can be sure to take care of it that day.

Every week –

Go through your “Documents to File/Scan/Transfer information from” folder, and process the items inside.  Scan documents that you need to save, or file them away in your file cabinet.  Take phone lists and add them to your digital contact list (like Google, where you can create a list like “Swim Team Roster” and add everyone from the paper to the list) then you can toss the paper.  Transfer recipes from magazines you wanted to your online recipe box (Kitchen Monki, Zip List and Big Oven are my favorites)

Every Month –

Go through your completed folder have your children save one thing from the folder to keep in a special folder in your file cabinet.

Outbox –

Finally, create a small outbox for each child and yourself.  As items need to go back to school (like the money for that fundraiser or the permission slip for the field trip), stick those items in the child’s outbox.  Things that go in your outbox would be items you need to mail, or something you need to deliver to a neighbor.  This should be located near the inbox, so you pass it on your way out the door.

So get all that paperwork in order today, and you can avoid the paper monster!

About the author

Sarah Kimmel

Sarah Kimmel originally created Organized Mom as a way to promote her software program to help busy moms get organized. The software never went anywhere, but the blog took off! While she still writes occasionally for Organized Mom, you can find her writing at Family Tech more frequently.

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