7 Tips For Dealing With Paper Clutter

February 4th, 2009 by Amy

It feels like every horizontal surface in my house is covered with a thick layer of paper. Part of me likes the “lining the nest” aspect of knowing that all the paper that’s come into my house is still in here somewhere. But, another, larger part of me is getting tired of struggling constantly to cope with the mess.


Truth be told, I have no tips for dealing with paper clutter. But, I’ve been trolling the Internet looks for answers and am happy to share seven that seem promising.


1.  Bind It

Create binders for different topics. Three-hole punch recipes, warranties, bills, school notices or anything that would benefit from being together and put it all in a 3 ring binder. Easy to add and subtract paperwork and much more useful than having everything shoved in an overflowing file. I’m counting on this tip to change my life. 


2.  Contain It

Searching for tips, it’s easy to think that the solution lies in one massive trip to IKEA or The Container Store. Since I just want tips, not stuff, I’ve had to limit myself, but I just couldn’t resist the appeal of this clever solution on www.apartmentherapy.com.


Brilliantly repurposed magnetic containers allow you to contain the little things help in the fight against paper clutter. Use these in the home office or transfer them to the fridge, either way they let you transport the little things you need to deal with paper – the clips, stamps, and seals – to wherever the piles are most critical. They work vertically, horizontally, and when they inevitable slide off the mountain of paperwork, there won’t be any spills. Photo credit: Katy Maslow




3.  Display It

They say a cork board is the answer and I’m desperate enough to give it a try. Instead of using it for calendars and To Do lists, I think I’m going to use it for inspiration. (Geninne posted a lovely and inspiring example on her blog.) My plan is to take all the postcards, paint swatches, photographs, and fortune cookie fortunes off the floor and put them on the wall. Yeah, that should help! Photo credit: Geninne



4.  Divide It

Separate the personal from the professional. Sounds obvious, but it felt revelatory. My desk is laden with alternating layers of household bills and professional paperwork, meaning that I am forever distracting myself by mixing the business with … well, other business. Today I’m going to dig out two old shoe boxes, mark one “Home” and the other “Work” and see if I can’t delineate a boundary between the two.


5.  Note It

I make lots and lots of notes on lots and lots of tiny scraps of paper which are then promptly lost in the shuffle. Yet another great example of how my attempt to get organized ends in more disorganization. One shockingly simple solution: write it all in a notebook. Not only is everything in one place, but the paper trail of phone numbers, names, and dates is there when you need it. Using the Napkin Notebook has a way of making even minutia feel Very Important.  


6.  Recycle It

So much of what comes in to my house can just turn around and go right back out. Putting a recycling bin by the front door has helped me separate the wheat from the chaff.


7.  Store It Online

www.jibidee.com if a nifty site with downloadable templates for lists. What is most appealing is that all the bits of information floating around my house are consolidated into an format that can be easily manipulated and printed.

One Response to “7 Tips For Dealing With Paper Clutter”

  1. Allen Says:

    Amy, great article and thanks for mentioning jibidee, we have big plans for the site. Sincerely, Allen & Jibidee Team (contact@jibidee.com).

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