I sometimes feel like I am surrounded by paper.
Paper my kids cut up. Paper my husband brings home from work. Bills. Schoolwork. Fliers. Coupons….
Are you like me? Do you struggle with paper piles? Paper clutter? Paper everywhere?
Just when I think I have the piles under control. Guess what? More paper to go through.
If you need help with those paper piles, you have come to the right place. What I am about to tell you will change the way you view paper. The KonMari Method for paper organization is super simple.
Are you ready?
THROW IT AWAY.
There are very few papers we actually need to keep. And there are probably even fewer of these papers that are actually sparking joy.
We can do so much electronically that having all the paper piles lying around is now unnecessary.
I want to help you conquer the paper piles once and for all.
And the battle You vs. Paper begins. Are you ready to divide and conquer?
And for you visual learners, I have made a graphic just for you. This will help you to organize papers in 7 Easy Ways!
So what are these three paper categories????
- Papers currently using.
- Papers to keep for a limited time.
- Papers to keep indefinetly.
I encourage you to go through each and every room and gather the paper piles together.
Then, take the time (armed with Pandora!) to divide those into the above three categories: currently using, need to keep for a limited time, and need to keep indefinitely.
If you come across sentimental papers, put these together in one spot. You do not need to deal with sentimental items right now.
Right now, we are talking about school papers, bills, warranties, receipts, newsletters, etc.
Now you know the categories, but how should you keep this all together?
Stick with me and I will show you how to set up a paper command center, how to tackle the school papers, and a method for going through bills.
Did you grab your graphic for 7 Ways to Stay On Top of Paper Clutter?
START BY SETTING UP A PAPER COMMAND CENTER:
All of our paper needs to have a specific place that it lives.
Not strewn around the home.
As I explain how to organize the categories, you will see how this command center will come into play.
ORGANIZING THE CATEGORIES:
The first category will be papers that we use on a regular basis.
During the week as these papers pile up, they go on the top shelf of the letter tray. I know where to find it if I need to during the week.
When I am straightening up at night, I put all the papers I used during the day here.
The papers do pile up as the week goes on. I use one day a week to go through the bills on the top shelf. Once paid, they are tossed in the trash.
But what about those papers that need to be kept for a period of time.
The second category are papers that we need to keep for a limited time.
This is not something that is needed as often as a daily or weekly basis. For me, this is contact information that I might need to keep for a project that is ongoing. Something that I will get rid of when the project is done, but for now I need to know where it is. These are kept in a clear plastic file folder that is in the magazine file.
The third category is for papers that I will keep indefinitely. If you have a lot of papers in this category, then maybe consider keeping the file somewhere other than the command center. I am able to keep one more clear plastic file folder with warranties or insurance policies that for now I need to hold onto. There are very few things that fall into this category for me as I try to be a minimalist.
In the magazine file, I am keeping two files for papers to keep for a limited time and papers to keep indefinitely.
I am using the letter tray to hold papers I am using on a daily basis. The top shelf holds things to go through, the second shelf holds one of my planners, and the third shelf is for homeschool papers.
To make this work, it is imperative to have a specific day to go through the papers at your paper command center. Go through everything during that time period. This prevents the papers from becoming clutter once again. Do not be afraid to throw away once you are done with a piece of paper!
This graphic will help you stay on track of your paper command center.
This free recorded webinar can help you decide if you are a digital or paper planner. Check it out today. Click the image below.
NOW what about all those pesky school papers and projects!!
Most of the everyday type papers can easily be incorporated into the paper command center.
My kids keep their schoolwork in their locker or cubby. When they are done with their work for the day, it goes right back into their locker.
For more inspiration, look at how I keep our homeschool organized. Click on the banner below.
Now onto the material they bring home from school or make in school. Each child has their own bin with file folders. In the bin, there is a file folder with the grade and then their work from that grade. One bin per kid, one file per grade.
Here is a post from Your Vibrant Family. She does a wonderful job of explaining this method!! And you can purchase printables to use as well.
For those big art projects that just will not fit in the box, I make a ChatBook.
Each time the kids finish a drawing or art project, instead of keeping them, I use my phone to take a picture of the drawing. I then add the picture to the ChatBook for that child’s art projects.
At the end of each school year, I have a ChatBook filled with all of their hard work for them to look through. I also add a caption under each photo with their commentary on their project. Great memories to keep forever!
I am sure you will think of other categories that need organizing. If you do, leave them in the comments, and I will come back and add my ideas for keeping them organized.
As for receipts, manuals, and bills already paid, throw them away! In fact, when going through papers, really ask yourself why you are holding onto it. Do not be afraid to throw paper away or find away to electronically file. It makes things so much easier. And it will make you more productive!