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The secret to dealing with paper piles in your home

by respaced on April 12, 2011

I get asked how to deal with household paper piles quite frequently. Every home seems to have a paper pile somewhere. (Every week, I go through my own paper piles that accumulate on the kitchen counter!)The solution starts by categorizing the type of paper that comes into your house, then dealing with each category in its own unique way.


Get an inclined file sorter and about 5-6 folders. Categorize your mail into 5-6 categories such as bills, statements, correspondence, Netflix, etc. and label each folder with a category. You could also label the folders with the action the mail needs such as To Be Paid, To Be Reviewed, To Be Filed, etc. When you sort the mail, put what you are keeping into one of the folders on the counter. Go through the folders once a week.

Projects, Recipes, Articles Ripped Out From Magazines

Do you rip out pictures of couches you like, shoes you want to buy or articles on places you want to go, restaurants you want to try? Each one should have its own file folder. Try labeling the folders with names like Decorating Ideas, To Buy, To Visit, etc. These folders then go into your filing cabinet. Recipes can go into clear sheet protectors in a recipe binder.

Children’s Artwork

Display what you can. You could display it this way. Get a portfolio for each child to store everything else. Commit to going through this portfolio at the end of the school year and only saving the best art. Everything else can be tossed. Remember, you can always take photos of artwork before you toss it.

Team Rosters, Phone Directories, Schedules

This is the kind of paper that you refer to often over a length of time. Get a large binder and add dividers for different sections such as School, Work, Home, Family, Medical and Babysitter. Place these papers in there and store the binder in an easily accessible spot such as in the kitchen beside the phone. Commit to going through this binder once a year to recycle old papers. You can also buy a binder with premade sections at places like Go Mom Inc.

You might also find this post helpful on setting up a filing system.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Miranda January 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm

There’s certainly a lot to learn about this issue.
I really like all of the points you have made.


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