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How to Finally Get Rid of Paper Clutter

How to organize papers? That is the question. Because if your house if like mine, it’s almost impossible not to have some form of paper in your home. The problem is, that paper can quickly turn into paper clutter if you’re not careful. Paper is one of those things you need a system for keeping up on.

My biggest tip for you when organizing papers is to be sure you’re mentally prepared. Don’t try to tackle paper clutter when you’re tired or in a hurry. You’ll need time to think and process your papers. Organizing papers is a tough job that is often mentally taxing.

With that being said, here are a few tricks for how to organize papers.

Go Digital as Often as Possible

The first tip is easy enough! Whenever you’re offered the option to switch your paper communication to digital, do it! In fact, there are many companies who’ll actually offer a small incentive to anyone willing to switch to digital or online resources.

Once you get your billing and other communication switched over to a digital format, you’ll automatically cut down your on your paper clutter considerably. Then organizing papers won’t be nearly as difficult.

Pro Tip: Find a good way to organize your digital files. Don’t just rely on the fact that your bills and communication come in digital form. You still need to keep up on everything. Make a file on your computer for storing bills and other electronic communication. Or try adding labels to your email inbox and file things appropriately. You don’t wanna lose track of your important documents. You just don’t want them cluttering up your home.

Get off the Junk Mail Lists

Send a letter with all of your info requesting to be removed from all lists to Mail Preference Service/DMA ATTN: Dept. 9407644 P.O. Box 643 Carmel, NY 10512 or call them at 212-768-7277.

Get off the junk mail lists! It will be as helpful as going digital and you’ll drastically reduce paper waste. 

Set a Timer for 15 Minutes

Organizing paperwork can be very overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why I want you to set a 15 minute timer. It will be much easier to complete the task of organizing paper if you know you have short and do-able goals.

Now, I’m not gonna let you off the hook and say that you only need to organize and declutter your papers for 15 minutes and then you’re done! I simply want you to work for 15 minutes at a time, taking breaks in between each organizing session.

When your timer goes off, stop immediately and take a five minute break. Get something to drink, take a short walk, do something mindless. Whatever you do, you must take breaks. That way you’ll be much more likely to finish the task of organizing papers.

Gather all Paper from Every Area of Your House to Deal with at the Same Time

Now it’s time to actually declutter and organize your papers. Are you ready? I want you to gather all of your paperwork from every area of your home and bring it to one central location.

I know that sounds like a job in and of itself, but trust me on this one! It’ll be so much better in the long run. Once you have all of your paperwork in one area, you can start organizing.

Now, Make Three Piles

  • To be Recycled – Just make this a separate pile. The only thing you’ll need to do with it is deposit it into the appropriate recycling drop off when you’re all finished organizing your papers.
  • To be Filed – These are the important papers that you want to keep and organize. We’ll discuss what to do with them in a minute. Keep reading!

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess.

Deal With Each Pile at its Own Separate Time

Now that you’ve organized your papers into separate piles, you’ve done half the work. But we’re not gonna spend time shredding papers or filing them right now. What I want you to do is come back to them at another time.

Don’t wait too long, though. Set a reminder for yourself to have a shredding party or a filing party! In just a minute we’ll talk about some options for you to organize the papers you do decide to keep.

Handle it Only Once

While you’re organizing your papers, it’s important that you make quick decisions and handle your paperwork only once. That means you pick it up from the pile, decide which of the three piles to place it in, and then go on to the next piece of paper. Don’t look at it, set it down and decide later what to do with it. Decide right away. The longer you organize your papers, the quicker you’ll become.

Papers are the nemesis of organization. But once you have a handle on how to get them under control and keep them there, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to keep them that way!

Don’t Spend Time Reading Each Piece of Paper or Reminiscing Over It

Have you unearthed something you haven’t seen in a while? Does looking at all of your old papers bring back memories? That’s great!

I’m happy for you! But now isn’t the time to take a trip down memory lane. You can schedule a time for yourself to come back and look over your papers. Just don’t do it now!

Use Organization Systems for Paperwork

Once you’ve sorted through all of your papers and decided what to keep, you’ll need a system to keep your paper organized. There are a couple of options that I like. Neither one is right or wrong. It’s just a matter of preference.

You might try one for a while and then decide that it’s not working for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The important thing is that you choose a system, tweak it for your needs, and then stick with it.

Filing System 

In our house, a filing system works the best. I’ve tried other things, and come back to a traditional system. Here is what I use to keep our paperwork organized. It works perfectly for our needs.

We don’t have a ton of paperwork in our house, so this is perfect. I bought it early in my marriage and have used it since the beginning. It works really well in my home.

I have set up each folder to be a month of the year. I file all monthly bill receipts, pay stubs, and anything else that I want to keep track of. At the end of the year, I take all items out of the file folder, put them into one of these, and then file them here.

When You File, File so that You Can Find What You Filed

Speaking of filing, you must file so that whatever you file can be found. You’ll find the system that works for you. For me, I’ve found that the typically the first thing that comes to my mind is where I file things.

I don’t know how scientific that is, but it works for me. If I try to get too fancy, then I risk not remembering where I filed things.

Binder System

Other way to organize papers is by putting them in a binder. I’m gonna be honest. You’re either gonna love it or hate it. Personally, I find organizing papers into a filing system is much easier, but I’m a linear thinker and filing makes more sense to me.

Having said that, you may love the binder system. In order to organize your papers into a binder, you’ll obviously need a few supplies, the first being a binder. If you’re going to go this route, consider buying a pack of four to get started. You’ll also want some of these to keep your papers somewhere in your binder.

Next you’ll decide how to organize your household system into a binder. You could have one binder for your household and then divide it into sections, such as, bills, important documents, things to take care of, etc.

Or you could have one binder for each of those sections and then divide it up even further. You get to decide how to organize your system. Do whatever works for you. That way you’ll be much more likely to stick to organizing your papers.

Color Code Each Family Member 

Give each family member a color that you use throughout your entire organization process (in other words, on your family schedule, and anywhere else you need to have organization).

It’ll keep things much more organized. You can either choose to give each person their own colored binder, or you can use color pocket dividers like these!

Additional Tips for How to Organize Papers

Here are a few other ways to keep your paper clutter under control. Just some odds and ends tips that I thought were important to include in this article.

1. Display Your Children’s Artwork for a Time, then Take a Picture and Dispose of it or File the Best of the Best

It’s hard to get rid of things your kids put a lot of time and effort into giving you, but at the same time, you can’t keep everything. You just can’t! So what do you do? First, display their artwork proudly.

Consider having a dedicated spot where you hang up things your kids make you. Then, after it’s been hanging for a while, take a picture of it and throw it away. I know it’s hard, but you risk having a bunch of paper clutter build up if you don’t eliminate some things.

2. Store Pictures in an Album

Digital pictures are the norm now, but that doesn’t mean people don’t still print out some photos. If you’re one that likes having a physical copy of your pictures, then make sure to store them in an album immediately after you print your pictures.

I’ve used these albums for years, and they’ve held up over time.

3. Get Rid of Old Stacks of Magazines

Magazines can pile up and cause a ton of clutter if you’re not careful to regularly purge them. If you have stacks of magazines lying around your house, get rid of them. You can either donate them or recycle them.

Either way is totally fine! Just don’t keep them with the hopes of reading them some day. If you haven’t done anything with them yet, then you probably won’t ever!

4. Organize Coupons into a Binder or Coupon Holder

If you use coupons, that’s great! You can save yourself a lot of money! But you wanna make sure you keep your coupons neat and organized so you can easily find them. This will work just fine for organizing your coupons.

5. Keep Receipts in a File Folder

Make a place in your filing system for receipts. That way all of your receipts are organized and in one place. That makes it much easier to find them if you ever need to take advantage of a warranty or return something.

For receipts, I would recommend something like this. That way if way if you also want to keep track of the warranty information, this would be a good place.

6. Take Pictures of Paperwork and Organize Them Into Albums

Consider taking digital snapshots of your important paperwork and then store them in albums. You’ll easily be able to access information at your finger tips.

Congratulations! You’ve Organized Your Paper Clutter

Yay!! You did it! You’ve decluttered your paper stash and found a system to organize papers. Now you just need to do the hard work and keep up on your system!

You don’t ever have to declutter your paper again if you need up these tips! You’ll eliminate your paper clutter once and for all!

When Getting Rid of Paper Clutter, Use The Decluttering Binder

What if I told you that you could easily declutter your home, paperwork included in a fun and organized way? I know that decluttering can be overwhelming.

That’s why I made The Decluttering Binder to help you quickly and painlessly declutter your entire home! Follow my worksheets to get your house clutter-free in no time!

Don’t forget to check out The Decluttering Binder right away! It’s an instant download, so you can start decluttering immediately!

Related Decluttering Your Home Articles:

How about you? How do you organize papers? Do you find it’s overwhelming to get through stacks and stacks of papers? What tips would you add to help organize papers?

Wanna start decluttering now and aren’t sure how to start? Grab your FREE copy of The Decluttering Binder Mini Pack. It’s an instant download so you can get started right away! Click the image below to get started right away!

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess.


Papers are the nemesis of organization. But once you have a handle on how to get them under control and keep them there, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to keep them that way!

How to Eliminate Paper Clutter {Once And For All}


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