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How to Clear Paper Clutter

November 25, 2014

If your life consists of chaotic sticky notes, stacks of mail and an unspeakable amount of paper clutter, then we're here to help. Follow these organization tips to take control of the clutter once and for all.

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Say Goodbye to Clutter

Are your kitchen counters, island and table swimming in a sea of paper? Do the stacks of bills and mail seem to just keep piling up? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then listen up: We have an organization system that's guaranteed to clear the paper clutter for good.

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Photo: Digital Vision

"I'll Do It Later" No More

The key to clearing paper clutter and maintaining an organized home is to deal with the paper you receive right away no matter what it is, from school schedules and bills to bank statements and party invites. It's easy to walk in the house, throw the mail on the kitchen counter and vow to put it away later, but oftentimes, the stack of mail continues to grow. Without a proper filing system, important notices can easily get lost in the shuffle. Tip: An excellent way to decrease the amount of paper in your home is to sign up for online bill pay and email statements.

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Photo: Zach DeSart ©. From: HGTV Magazine.

Organized Family

An easy way to disband paper stacks and keep your filing system clutter-free as well is to use an extra-large calendar to record family-wide schedules. Tack the calendar in a central location that every member of the family is guaranteed to pass, such as the refrigerator. Include school schedules, homework due dates, party invitations, sports games, doctor appointments and business trips. To prevent confusion, designate each member of the family with a particular marker color and use that to fill in his or her events. This is a great way to maintain accountability and keep everyone on top of their due dates, appointments, games and meetings. Learn how to make this giant chalkboard calendar from HGTV Magazine.

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Get Organized

Here's where the process gets a bit timely, but it's well worth the time spent in the end. Depending on the amount of paper clutter, you could use a small and simple 12-tabbed file folder or an entire office-style filing cabinet. Start by clearing off the kitchen table and creating stacks of the same type of paper or mail: car insurance, health insurance, utilities, taxes, credit cards, bank statements, receipts, etc. It may be easier to combine certain areas and create broader subjects like bills, insurance and personal. The important thing is to have a go-to file for each subject for reference. Anything that requires a response in the near future should be placed in an "action stack" that will eventually be filed away once that particular bill is paid or form is filled out. For any papers you don't find file-worthy, create a "shred and recycle" stack.

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