Prevent Paper Clutter in Your Home

30 Mar

Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by paper?  You can prevent paper from accumulating in your home by changing some of your habits.

  • Bills, Catalogs, Other Mail — Consider online statements or automatic payments to avoid paper billing altogether.  If you prefer paper statements, pay them when you get them, if possible.  This not only avoids clutter, but helps keeps your finances on track because you are less likely to lose or forget about a bill.    Be sure to shred any paper bills with personal information on them.  Try not to set mail down until you have decided which items you actually need.  Be realistic.  Recycle the rest immediately.  If you must put it down without sorting through, always put it in the same spot, and keep a recycling bin very close.  If you never buy from catalogs, get your name removed from the companies’ mailing lists so you won’t receive any.  It’s better for you, better for the companies, and better for the environment.
  • Coupons — Some people save hundreds of dollars with coupons.  If you are never going to be one of those people, then be honest with yourself about it.  Don’t save every coupon you see.  Are you really going to use it by the expiration date?  Do you even want that item?  Save coupons you know that you will use, for businesses you visit often, or for products you actually want or need.  Also, find out which of your favorite businesses or products have coupons available online so you can print them as you need them and they won’t clutter your home.  A word of warning:  do not use your personal email account if you sign up to receive coupons by email, because you will probably be spammed.
  • School papers — If your child earned a great score on a test, make a big deal out of it and then put it on the refrigerator or recycle it.  If an art project is special, frame it.  You can’t keep ALL your child’s work, so let your child know how impressed you are by the really special ones, and let the rest go.
  • Receipts — You don’t need that three-year old receipt for french fries, trust me.  Save your receipts for anything expensive, tax-deductible, or otherwise important.  File them according to date and review the file periodically.
  • Manuals — Most product information can be found online, so most paper manuals aren’t needed.  If in doubt, look it up.
  • Loose Papers Saved for Reference — If you want to save some papers for later reference don’t just put them in a stack.  Stacks get bigger; you don’t want that.  Consider scanning individual pages for digital storage.  If you need them in paper form, try folders in magazine holders, binders with plastic sheet protectors, and expanding or hanging files.  Be sure to label and date everything and review it once a year.  Be realistic about what you file.  Most people file things they will never need.

If you make some simple changes in your lifestyle to prevent paper accumulation, you will soon see a change in the amount of paper in your home.

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8 Responses to “Prevent Paper Clutter in Your Home”

  1. mysoulforsale March 30, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Okay, can I tell you I love you without sounding like a freak, because I do… or at least I love your blog… I guess that’s more appropriate. :p

    Anyone who’s passionate about keeping their home together and not letting it turn into a slop pail is a friend of mine. I’m also in to the whole simplicity thing, so I will be visiting you again. Thanks!

    • acleansurface March 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      Thank you for the compliment, mysoulforsale! It is always nice to feel loved. =) My home isn’t very together right now, because we just moved, but that just keeps me focused on the idea of getting it back in order!

  2. The Hook March 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Excellent post. Elevating mankind through organization, h’uh?

    • acleansurface March 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks, Hook. I feel calmer when things are under control (spontaneity is good, chaos is bad) and I think we are all kinder when we are calmer, right? So humanity could be elevated, now that you mention it…

  3. pegoleg March 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I’ve seen ads on TV for a scanner to organize stray paperwork and my husband is very intrigued by this. Any thoughts, o organizational guru?

    • acleansurface April 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      Peg, we have a scanner that is about the size and shape of a laptop. That is a “flatbed scanner”, but there are larger more elaborate ones and even small “wand” style scanners, which are probably for specific purposes. The flatbed variety seems to range from about $90- $200. I have used ours on my own, and I am not good with machines, so I would say they are not too difficult to use. A scanner can be used for things a fax machine might have been used for, like sending documents, but as email attachments, rather than as paper. You can also save documents or photos to your computer, or to a disc or memory stick, or share by email or social media. If you are looking to digitize many old photos or records, scanners are good tools. I would suggest asking friends if they have one to loan, if you are concerned about the cost.

  4. Team Oyeniyi April 1, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    I could do with over at my place right about now to help me organise a pile of paper I am just dreading attacking!

    OK, OK – I’ll do it, I promise. Unfortunately, I’ve been telling myself that for weeks!

    Thank you for dropping by!

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