organizing your paper life

With last month’s task of organizing our digital life, it is timely and appropriate that this month, we organizing our paper life.  I don’t know about you, but paper in my house is Clutter Enemy #1.  It is not toys.  It is not books.  It is paper.

I cannot understand the amount of paper that comes into this house.  Paper often fills my counter and my desk, and occasionally a couple bins when I cave and just chuck it all for the feeling of a beautifully clean surface (however, misleading that really is).

So today, I have 6 tips on organizing your paper clutter.  These are things that have helped me immensely.  And on the last one, I’ll share with you my dream command central of paper organization that I am planning for the new house.

6 Tips for Organizing Your Paper Life

1.  Don’t let junk mail through the door.  Make use of a garbage can in your garage for efficient disposal.

2.  Have one place for bills.  Don’t go searching through stacks of paper every time you want to pay a bill.  As soon as a bill enters your house, put it in the same place.  I use this wall-mounted letter holder to keep bills and receipts in.


file cabinet table


3.  Have a good filing system.  I prefer file cabinets and my desk’s file drawer, but if space is your problem, you case use a plastic file box stored in the back of your closet.

At the suggestion of Sarah from Taylor Studio Design when I was doing the office makeover, I combined my two filing cabinets and had a table top made for them.  I love this extra counter space and have used it many times for crafts and my Cameo.

4.  Scan in documents that need to be saved rather than keeping a hard copy.  If you have a home scanner/printer, go through your papers and see which can be scanned for long term storage.

If you don’t have a scanner yourself or if you have a large amount of documents, you can go to a office supply store and pay to have them scanned.  I called my local Staples and it costs 25 cents per page and then 25 cents per file if you are separating them into many files.  While it sounds a little pricey, it will not only save you from having to purchase storage boxes or file cabinets, but you will save space at the same time.  Less paper?  Yes, please!


folder system to tame the paper clutter


5.  Try a folder system for more timely or pressing items.  I have folders labeled Action, Immediate Action, Someday, To Be Filed and Coupons in this magazine rack from Ikea.

6.  Create a Command Central.  Can you imagine a place in your house where paper flows in and out without confusion?  A place for everything and everything has a place?  No more losing something in the big stack.  No more messy piles of paper.  And since you have carefully thought out the needs of your family, maintaining this place isn’t all that difficult.

Command Central is the very spot where you manage papers coming in, papers going out, schedules, reminders and anything else that is pertinent to your family.

We are working on plans for our house and I am so excited about creating this special spot.  I have decided to put our Command Central in the mud room.  Want to see what I’m thinking about?  It is only hand-sketched, but here it is…


command central sketch


On the other wall are open-faced lockers (one for each of us).  This wall will have a chair rail, long bench with boot storage underneath, the door to the garage on the right and above the chair rail will be:

* A Big Framed Chalkboard (for notes, reminders, Scripture verses)

* Black & White Face Shots of the Kids running along the top

* Two Black Wood Wall Pockets like these below on each side of the chalkboard.  On my sketch, I only drew three pockets, but I will need four.  For our family organization, there will be one for each person, incoming mail, outgoing mail, bills and receipts.



* A Little Runner Board with Hooks for keys and such under the Chalkboard.

And there it is, my dream Command Central.

What would make the wall for your family’s Command Central?  Leave a comment and share!

This post is a part of our Path to a Simply Organized Life series.  Join us anytime on our 12 month journey to a more organized and purposeful life.  Last Month’s Subject:  Taming the Family Schedule.


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