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Organize Your Paper Clutter

Tame the Paper Clutter So You Can See Your Countertops Again


Mother looking at mail with sleeping baby
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A household with children seems to create paper clutter out of thin air. Between kids' art projects, letters from school and the endless bills, organizing paper clutter can be a never ending task for most working moms and dads. Before you know it, you'll forget what color your kitchen counters are.

Instead, become ruthless about keeping paper clutter under control. After all, paper doesn't arrive in your home by magic. It's carried by human hands. If you have clear rules about handling paper, you can keep it from becoming clutter in the first place.

Keep paper clutter off the counters. Look at where paper piles up in your home and what types of paperwork collect. Designate a basket for each kind so that you can easily retrieve bills, school papers or mail when you're ready to deal with it.

Open mail over the trash can.When you sort through your mail, immediately throw away anything that is junk. That includes brochures for vacations you might take, takeout you might order and coupons you might use. If you don't know that you'll act on it in the next 3 months, it's junk.

Document as much as possible electronically.Before you trash the vacation brochure, feel free to jot down any key information in your day planner or computer. The same goes for birthday party invitations and school forms. If you can transfer key information to an electronic device, you can toss the paper.

Give away art projects. I don't know about you, but my kids seem to bring home about a dozen new drawings, collages and sculptures each week. Yes, they're adorable and will bring back precious memories in years to come. No, you cannot keep them all.

Instead, give away some of the nicest art projects to grandparents, aunts, uncles and doting friends. Take pictures of the remainder and throw them away. If you're a softie like me, you'll hang onto one or two, but at least it's not hundreds.

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