It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by paper that comes into the house.
There are receipts from gas and groceries, mail, bills, invoices for purchases and worked performed, and all types of other pieces that seem to just appear in drawers and on counters.
For people who have children, there are also other papers that come in each day from school. Attending college online or in person, or having a job where things get brought home to be handled later, can contribute to paper clutter, as well.
For people who work from home, that can even add another paper layer to the ever-growing pile!
Fortunately, there are ways to organize and combat the papers that repeatedly come into a house, in order to make sure that paper is handled efficiently before it has a chance to become clutter.
When papers pile up, bills can get paid late and important appointments can get overlooked. Additionally, it’s easy to forget that permission slip for a child’s school trip or have trouble finding the report the boss wanted to see by the end of the week.
Here are some tips to reduce the influx of paper to a more manageable level and organize the paper that still needs to come into the house.
1. Opting Out Can Make a Huge Difference
Not everyone is a fan of all the paper, or the destruction of all the trees that are used to make it. For people who don’t want that much paper in their life, opting out and automating bills can definitely make a difference.
Most banks, utility companies, and other businesses are offering customers the option to get information and bills through email, and pay those bills electronically. Not everyone likes doing things that way, but for the people who do there are plenty of good options.
Checking with companies about their policies doesn’t take long, and can really help reduce all the paper that comes into a house.
2. Sort the Mail Right Away, Instead of Letting It Pile Up
For items that need to come in the physical mail, or for people who don’t want to opt out of getting paper bills, policy documents, and more, sorting mail right away is an excellent way to organize the paper that comes into the house.
There are different ways it can be sorted, such as by person, by type of mail, by whether it requires a response, or any method that works for everyone in the household. Some people choose to put all the bills in one place and pay them once a week, for example.
Other people may want to have their mall divided by which household member it belongs to, with an organizer everyone can check to see if they have any mail. Doing that can make it very easy for people to find things, and can keep bills from getting overlooked and important items from being ignored.
Some pieces of mail may also need to be opened and saved, such as auto and homeowners insurance policy documents. The right system is one that keeps things organized, reduces clutter, and works for the people in the house.
3. Use a Scanner for the Important Documents
There are some things that really need to remain on paper. A house deed, a car title, a marriage certificate, and items like those should be kept. But there are many other receipts and pieces of paper that are simply not needed anymore. Even old tax returns can be scanned and stored electronically.
For paperwork where a physical copy isn’t required, or a certified copy isn’t needed, scanning the document and storing it on a computer, in the cloud, or on an external hard drive can be a great choice.
Make sure it’s backed up in at least one other place, and then shred the paper copy to reduce clutter.
4. Paper is One of the Most Common Clutter Culprits
With subscriptions to magazines, bills from local utilities, and more, it’s very easy for paper to overtake a countertop or other location. This can be very unfortunate for people who don’t like clutter, and can even lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. With that in mind, though, de-cluttering a home of paper doesn’t have to be difficult.
Automating payments, getting electronic bills and documents wherever possible, and canceling paper subscriptions to anything that isn’t getting read or that can be ready online are all great ways to make sure there is less paper clutter in a home.
It may take some time to get off of mailing lists and have the catalogs stop coming, but there are plenty of ways to get that done so a home can be nearly paper-free and can feel clean, light, and far less cluttered than it did before.