Hello and welcome to my first ever organising blog post! As paper clutter is something that affects everybody I thought for my first post I’d throw out a few simple and practical ways to stay organised and prevent a build up of paper clutter within the home and stop things being lost to the stuff abyss!
Mail – it’s a never ending task, even though it doesn’t take up much of our time to sort it, it still gets put in the “later” pile. So make a dedicated spot for unopened mail, whether this is a document tray, a wall mounted mail holder or just a plastic container. Make sure this is placed in a frequently used area of the home – I have a 3 tier document tray at the end of my kitchen bench, next to the shoppers entry from the garage. If you have time, open it straight away and sort it to where it needs to go, if not set a dedicated time each week to deal with it (set a reminder with an alarm on your phone). For bills and other items that need your attention, have a spot for things that need “actioning” (document tray, container, pin board, fridge door or even blu-tacked to your computer or desk so it’s visible!). File other things appropriately or have a dedicated area for documents and mail that is waiting to be filed and set aside 5 minutes each week to deal with the pile! Future you will thank you! Remember that not all mail and paperwork needs to be kept, you can buy lovely little cheap shredders these days and shredding or chucking what doesn’t need to be kept will reduce your paper clutter later on. If you don’t have a filing system of some kind already, you can purchase cheap concertina style filing folders from places like Kmart, Target or Big W. Or have a look at Officeworks and the like, they have some great filing systems, some of them are even quite pretty and stylish!
School notes – to avoid the risk of getting permission slips and payments for excursions and school based activities back to school late, ideally, deal with it the day it comes home! If that’s not possible, just like with the mail, have a very visible place for these while they wait to be actioned. I have a labelled “School notes to be actioned” plastic sleeve blu-tacked to my kitchen/shoppers entry door, so every time I open the door they’re right at eye level – making them quite difficult to forget!
Receipts – these can be tricky little buggers! The easiest way I’ve found to deal with them so far is creating an area for temporary receipts, like a metal receipt spike (I got mine at Officeworks) for things like minor purchases – clothing etc. Then have a couple of files for receipts that need to be kept for warranties. I have a “furniture and electrical receipts” file and an “other receipts” file. The temporary receipts are kept tidier on the spike than they would be in a swing file and if they’re visible, on top of your desk or another common area, you’re more likely to go through them more often, thus reducing your paper clutter.
Having a “command post” in your home – a dedicated area for all the things I’ve addressed above goes a long way to staying organised. The paper clutter and our day to day lives can be simplified by including a white board for reminders, shopping lists and meal plans for example. Also included could be outlines of daily and/or weekly routines for family members (at the start of each term I type up and blu-tack to the kitchen door a list of my 3 daughters activities for the week and another one for school - what day library is etc.), a calendar for birthdays, appointments and event reminders, a place for pizza vouchers, note pads, a pot for pens… you get the picture!