Paper is often one of the largest reasons for clutter in our homes. The sources of paper entering our homes are endless. Before you know it, you are swimming in a pile of children’s school papers, bills, advertisements, newspapers, family letters, and magazines. How can you get on top of it all? Stopping the paper from even entering your home is the first step. Managing the paper, is the second step, and properly disposing of your paper, is the third. Here are ten tips to begin to free your space from paper clutter.
Ten Tips for Paper Management
1. Prevent direct advertising in your Canada Post mailbox using the Red Dot Campaign. This campaign stops the delivery of all direct mail advertising that does not come addressed specifically to you. Simply print out the appropriate dot and post it in your mailbox for your letter carrier.
2. Reduce your magazine/newspaper/newsletter/catalog subscriptions if you find you never have time to read them. Be honest, if you simply keep adding them to an ever-growing “to read” pile, you probably don’t need a subscription.
3. Open all mail when it arrives and dispose of envelopes and junk mail. Make decisions about each piece of mail, what kind of action (eg. bill to pay, file, respond to letter) does it need? Act, then file accordingly.
4. Schedule time each week to deal with paper in your home. If you set aside an hour or so a week you will stay on top of the paper piles before they become overwhelming.
5. Establish a file system that works for your family. Professional Organizers can help you design one that meets your family’s specific needs. A Go-To Binder works great to capture the important papers your family needs regularly.
6. Be careful what you save. There are important papers that must be saved (eg. tax papers, identification, certificates, etc.) but people tend to save things they think they will refer to and never do. These include recipe clippings, articles, coupons, etc. If you are a clipper and you never refer to the clippings, stop clipping. You are adding to your clutter.
7. Be selective with children’s schoolwork, art and other memorabilia. Set up a single memory box for each child and store only the best representation (2 or 3 pieces) of their work for each year. You could also create a wall of fame in your home and keep replacing the art as it comes in.
8. Shred personal information for safety. There are community shredding days in Calgary (watch for events by AMA.)
9. Have paper recycling bins in every room that paper is handled. Those few steps you save can often mean the difference between tossing the paper back onto the pile or recycling it once and for all.
10. In with the new, out with the old. If you receive a new magazine/catalog/newsletter/newspaper, make sure you recycle the old one. News and articles age and become irrelevant very quickly. This will help you keep your papers current and manageable.
As you try out these techniques for yourself, try to handle paper only one or two times before it find its final file location or the recycling bin. These tips are a great beginning for reducing the paper in your space.
P.S. Do you want to know more? Are you overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? A Personal and Business Coach, Charissa Lee, and I joined forces and designed a one-day workshop “Beyond Being Mom,” to give you that boost in the right direction! We will present simple, practical methods to make your household run more smoothly, reduce your family’s stress, and give you more time. You’ll see examples of different household management tools, create a Go-To binder that is unique to your family, and get a chance to talk and share ideas with other Moms trying to run a family without a manual. Check my workshops page for the next scheduled event!