Are you sick and tired of seeing piles of paperwork mounting up around the house? You’re not alone – and if you’ve ever wondered how you can get rid of those paperwork piles and declutter your paper mountains then you’re in the right place! Let’s go through some simple but REALLY effective tips and tricks of ways to reduce paper clutter in your home once and for all.
There’s no getting around it – we all have paperwork coming into our homes ALL. THE.TIME.
Whether from the post, work, school, hobbies, entertainment, bills, receipts, warranties etc… – the list is endless.
And it can be tiring to keep on top of it all, to say the least.
Today I wanted to look at how we can reduce paper clutter around the house.
- You’ll feel back under control
- You will be able to find what you need more easily
- You will have a neater looking home (it’s amazing how messy paper can be!)
So – let’s get started, shall we!
#1 – Minimise What Comes In
It stands to reason that if you can minimise the paperwork that actually comes into your home in the first place – you will reduce paper clutter before it’s even had a chance to settle.
There are a few ways to do this: –
- Register to opt out of Junk Mail in the post (in the UK this can be done at the mailing preference service).
- Go paperless with your bills. Most providers will offer this service for you – and some even offer a discount which is a double bonus!).
- Use email as form of contact rather than post. When you want to receive mailing from companies you get to pick whether it’s by post, email or phone. Stop ticking ‘post’!
#2 – Sort Paperwork As Soon As It Comes Into The House
So, you’ve sorted out getting less (point #1), but you will of course still have things coming into the house – so make sure you do a quick sort as soon as it comes through the door.
- Create inboxes for each person in the house. This way you have a designated spot for their paperwork, and a place for your own if you don’t have the time to deal with it straight away.
- You can open letters and sift through any recycling/rubbish etc… immediately. Ideally, have a bin next to the front door or wherever you open your post, so you can get it dealt with straight away.
TIP – If you are recycling or putting any paperwork in the rubbish – it’s worth investing in a small shredder so that you ensure no personal details are visible. Better to be safe! (Have it easily available but out of kids’ reach for safety).
#3 – Scan What You Can
Some paperwork that you want to keep can be scanned and digitised instead of having to keep the paperwork itself. This is a great option if you are short of filing space.
Some of the things that I would consider for this would be: –
- Childrens artwork / writing. You can get a LOT of this, and although it would be fantastic to keep it all, you won’t get to enjoy it very much as it’s just too much!. If you can scan it, then you could create a photo book of all their pieces which would be a gorgeous keepsake. For instance – I add scanned art and letters etc… my daughter does and add it to our family yearbook each year. Works really well!
- Invitations or letters with info for appointments etc… These can easily be scanned (or even a photo taken on your phone) so you have a copy of them but don’t have to worry about keeping the original.
TIP – You can scan using apps on your phone, or some printers have a scanning function. Find a system that works for you. If you don’t want to start scanning, then another option is simply taking a photo from your phone of the item in question.
TIP – Always backup anything you keep on your computer or phone though, as it would be awful if some technical meltdown happened and you lost everything…
#4 – Carry Out A Paper Clutter Amnesty
The basic idea of this is to walk around the house and gather together all the paperwork you can find.
Put it all in one container (or a few if you have a lot!), and then you have one place to find everything, and one place to sort through when you have time.
This is a great habit to do every week/month or as often as you feel would work best for you (add it to your chores schedule so you don’t forget!).
#5 – Go Digital Where Possible
One large area of paper clutter can be newspapers and magazines.
As such, why not think about going digital for these instead?
TIP – If you absolutely don’t want to go digital as you prefer paperwork, then make sure you get rid of the magazine or paper as soon as you’ve finished reading it. A great tip to reduce paper clutter asap is to take a photo of any article you want to keep so that you have a record of it (You could create a Pinterest board for these so you know where they all are).
#6 – Sort Paper Piles Regularly
If you can create a habit of sorting through your inbox as often as you can, then you *should* keep those clutter piles at bay.
Add this job to your Sunday list (once a week should be plenty if you deal with urgent items as soon as they come in), and you’ll keep that inbox under control once and for all!
These tasks could be sorting, shredding, filing etc.. – whatever it takes to keep on top of it all.
#7 – Throw Away Previous Papers
By this I simply mean that it’s all too easy to just get an insurance document for something that’s renewed each year, and file it away without thinking.
If you took a couple more minutes and found the old document that’s now out of date, then you can shred that and get rid of it easily. This makes it a much easier job to keep the filing cabinet from being full to bursting!
#8 – Get To Know What You Need To Keep
….and for how long.
This will help you when it comes to only having what you really need, rather than worrying about what you maybe should keep but not knowing either way.
Worth a read – How long should you keep paperwork for?
#9 – Use One Notepad
Get a small notepad and pen that can easily fit in your bag, and make sure you start to use this for anything that crops up during the day where you need to make a note of something.
That way, you won’t have loads of little bits of paper strewn about, no post it notes on the kitchen cupboard doors (I see them!), and you can quickly add your notes each evening to the place they need to be: –
- Phone numbers – add to your phone
- Addresses – add to your address book
- Important dates – add to your diary
#10 – Go Completely Paperless
I want to try and go as paperless as possible, as I think in the digital world we now live in it makes sense to try.
Some ideas for paperless living have already been talked about here, such as scanning items, paperless billing, magazines and newspapers online etc… – a few others would be: –
- Don’t pick up leaflets for events or restaurant menu flyers – all information can be found easily online when needed.
So – there you have it! – 10 brilliant but effective ways to reduce paper clutter in your home starting today!
A quick summary for you: –
#1 – Minimise what comes in
#2 – Sort as soon as it comes into the house
#3 – Scan what you can
#4 – Carry out a paper amnesty
#5 – Go digital where possible
#6 – Sort regularly
#7 – Throw away previous
#8 – Get to know what you need to keep (and how long for!)
#9 – Use 1 notepad
#10 – Go completely paperless!
I hope this inspires you to try out at least one new way to reduce paper clutter, and get rid of the mountains for good!.
… and if you want to create a fantastic paperwork system for your home that really works (it’s the one I use in my home!), then you won’t want to miss my ADORE My Paperwork.