Is paper clutter overtaking your home? Experts say 80 percent of the paper in our homes is unnecessary and taking up valuable space. Here are five easy ways to clear out and prevent the pileups in your home, today. Let’s get organizing!
Keep surfaces tidy with a blooming decoy
Tables and counters are magnets for paper clutter. A mood-boosting way to keep these surfaces tidy: Just display something you love, like flowers or a souvenir from your last vacation, advises organizer Rachel Rosenthal, who explains that the display will act as a subconscious reminder not to cover the space with paper — plus, it’ll make you smile each time you pass by.
Track to-do’s with a master calendar
The trickiest papers to organize are those that are time-sensitive — from party invites to appointment reminders — because we know we’ll need to refer to them later. One easy solution: As soon as they come in, jot down the important info, like the date and time of the event, on a large wall calendar or input it into your digital calendar. With all the details recorded in one place, you can feel free to toss the paperwork!
Avoid file chaos with a school staple
Organize papers that you have to keep, like bank statements (for one year) and tax returns (for seven years), in a three-ring binder, urges organizing expert Brittany Wise. “Use paper dividers to create categories and clear protector pages for receipts,” she says. “Pages can be rearranged easily—no need to dig through folders in a drawer.”
Head off junk mail with a “weed-out” walk
The surefire way to outsmart junk mail? Stop it from entering your home in the first place by sorting through it on the walk back from your mailbox, suggests Joor Schultz, CEO of the organizing company Joorganized, who advises immediately “weeding out” anything you don’t need and tossing it into the recycling bin outside or the shredder as soon as you get back inside your house. Then just sort the rest of your mail into two categories: “To Do” and “To File.”
Preserve mini masterpieces with this aww-worthy app
To preserve artwork from the little ones in your life without the clutter, simply take a picture of each project and create an online album, says Schultz. You can also upload the photos to the free Keepy app, which lets you share them with family—you can even record your loved one talking about her masterpiece!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.