January 27, 2020

How to End the Paper Clutter (for good)

It’s the last week of The Clutter Challenge and we’re going to finish up with Paper Clutter, Office Clutter, and Digital Clutter. Don’t worry if you aren’t at this point yet – it isn’t a race – do your best and finish strong, even if it takes you a little longer. Come back to these posts as you need to!

If you haven’t printed out the Declutter Order Checklist, make sure you keep reading and do that. Before you do anything this week, it might be helpful for you to figure out when you’re going to do the tasks. I use my Homekeeping Planner but you can write it on the checklist, in a calendar, on a scratch sheet fo paper. I find it really helpful to block out when I’m going to do specific tasks. This helps me break it down into manageable tasks and steps and so I don’t get overwhelmed.

Throughout the month of January we will be following this free printable – Clean Mama’s Declutter Order (also found in The Clutter Handbook) as our guide. I’ll be posting on Mondays with a couple bonus posts for the week ahead. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for behind the scenes progress in our home!

If you’re ready for decluttering but not quite sure where to start, I have a simple method to make a lot of progress in a short period of time. Ready?

Here are your steps to a decluttered office and getting rid of paper clutter:

First things first, make sure your declutter station is nearby and go through everything if you can. 
KEEP – Love it, need it, or use it
TOSS – Recycle or trash
DONATE – Don’t love it, need it or use it but someone else could
RELOCATE – Still love it, use it or need it, but it doesn’t belong here

I used the labels from The Clutter Handbook and attached them with a clothespin to these laundry baskets from IKEA.

Work in this order and assess what you have – clear what you can and declutter ruthlessly to find your way to a decluttered home. As you are doing this portion of decluttering, challenge yourself (and your kids if you have them) to keep what you/they use and love. It’s refreshing to have and use less.

OFFICE SPACE

ELECTRONICS
Sort through cords, make sure everything has a match. This is also a great time to organize your electronics and cords and make sure everything is set-up in a way that works for you.

OFFICE SUPPLIES
Use containers you have for sorting like items with items. You can use drawer organizers but I recommend using containers you have or even repurposing small boxes or shoe boxes until you have decided what system works best for your office supplies.

BOOKS
Sort through books quickly and organize them in a way that makes sense – you can color code them or arrange them by author or genre. Don’t spend too much time on this but definitely decide what you can donate or gift to a friend.

PAPER + FILES
If you have a filing cabinet in your office take the time to sort through the file folders and papers or at least your paper pile. You can see how I organize all of our paper and my office here.

PAPER CLUTTER

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO ELIMINATE PAPER CLUTTER, START HERE:

  • Deal with it daily. The #1 secret to keeping paper clutter to a minimum is to deal with it daily. Processing mail, school papers, and any other paper that makes its way into your home right away is the best way to keep it from becoming overwhelming.  Clutter is one of my FIVE DAILY TASKS.  Paper falls under the clutter umbrella – if you follow my routine, make sure you’re including paper in your daily clutter routine.
  • Shred, shred, shred.  Buy a good quality shredder and use it.  Here’s the one we have – I looked it up and I bought it in 2013 and it’s still going strong. Don’t want to buy a shredder?  Google shred day in your town or call your local bank – many towns and banks have one or two days a year where you can bring your stuff to be shredded.
  • Get rid of unwanted mail.  There’s a free app called PAPERKARMA – just scan your unwanted mail, they contact the sender, and the mail is gone. If you’re sick of getting those pre-screened credit offers you can go to OPTOUTPRESCREEN via the Federal Trade Commission to get off that list.
  • Scan important papers.  Save them to an external drive or cloud storage. Here are a couple I like:
    EVERNOTE – a way to digitally remember everything.
    NEAT and DOXIE are digital scanning devices you can use. Most printers have scanners you can use as well.
  • Store photos digitally.  I’m sure that this is another post, but I use SHUTTERFLY, DROPBOX and an external hard drive, but there are lots of options out there for slimming down the picture stacks. Print a book once every year or two and you’ll be on your way to keeping those photos updated. If you’re behind, start with the current year and work backwards.
  • Store pdfs and printables digitally.  I store pdfs in Dropbox or on iCloud. Set up a folder for each category and you can quickly find any printables you need. Everything’s stored in the cloud and can be found on any device – easy peasy. Did you know that if you have a tablet, like an iPad you can use printables paperless with an app like NOTABILITY that lets you digitally write on your pdfs and take notes with you anywhere?

The Clutter Handbook has an extensive paper clutter section – if this is an area you struggle with, I highly recommend grabbing the handbook to help you in this area.

What’s the Secret to Getting Rid of Paper Clutter for Good?  

Dealing with it DAILY!  It comes in daily, deal with it daily to keep it away. Here are a couple of my favorite ways to cut back on what comes in the house.

Here’s your paper clutter checklist:

PAPER PILE
Start with this and if it’s extensive, set aside a little bit of time every night this week to work through it.
BILLS
Next up, work on going through bills – this may or may not be included in the paper pile section in your home, but figure out a system for this.
PHOTOGRAPHS
I’ll talk more about photos on Wednesday but figuring out a quick plan of attack for dealing with photos is important!
MEMORABILIA
This can be really difficult, if nothing else, just sit down and write down a goal for this area and work on it over the next month or so. You can see how I organize all of our paper and my office here.
KIDS ART + SCHOOL WORK
Start a system for this now even if your kids are little, trust me. The time flies and it just gets harder as the kids get older.

As you work through decluttering, this is a great time to decide if a system is or isn’t working. Adjust if necessary and come up with a system for the items you are KEEPING.

Here’s what you can expect on the blog for the month of January:

January 1 – INTRO – Join the Challenge!
January 2 – Decluttering Quick Start + Cleaning Supplies / Laundry Area
January 6 – Kitchen
January 13 – Bathrooms
January 20 – Clothing + Bedrooms
January 22 – Entertainment + Kids
January 27 – Office Space + Paper Clutter
January 29 – Digital Clutter
Find all the posts from the Clean Mama Clutter Challenge here.

What will you GAIN when you declutter?  TIME, LESS STRESS, A CALM + COZY HOME you are excited to come home to!

please note: the Clean Mama Clutter Challenge is free – it is not necessary to purchase the handbook to take part in the challenge but the handbook will definitely help! Grab it now while it’s on sale!

Ready to clear the clutter? I’m SO excited to share The Clutter Handbook with you! It’s updated and ready to help you take on your clutter in a fresh, new way for 2020. The FREE Clean Mama Clutter Challenge through the month of January will be on the blog, Instagram, and in a new private Facebook group (purchase The Clutter Handbook to be in the Facebook group). Grab The Clutter Handbook to take you even more in depth through the challenge!

The Clutter Handbook is a 47-page pdf guide designed to take the guesswork out of decluttering your home. If you’re starting from a room you can’t walk into or just a couple clutter piles, this guide is designed to take you from clutter to decluttered in simple, manageable steps.

The problem with decluttering is not knowing where to start. If you’re just happening on this post, go here first. I have 4 steps to give you a quick start on your decluttering. You’ll gain momentum and be motivated to continue – that’s the best kind of decluttering. Getting rid of the clutter quickly, easily, and while seeing almost instant progress in the early stages.

Looking for more Decluttering Inspiration?

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