Are you feeling overwhelmed with paper clutter during quarantine? It’s so easy to let loose paper documents and receipts build up at home, ultimately increasing the amount of clutter. Fortunately, there are several good ways to control, as well as reduce papers that might begin to pile up. Consistency is the key and setting up a great paper storage system from the beginning is very important! Once the hard part of organizing is over, regular organizational attention will have to happen to prevent the clutter from creeping back in. Here are some tips for organizing paper clutter!
Start organizing on a room-by-room basis
Sometimes, depending on how much clutter has already begun to build up, it might feel overwhelming to try to tackle the entire house all at once. If you start with one room, it makes the entire thing less stressful and overwhelming. If the task is broken up into manageable chunks, the process of organizing the paper clutter becomes a lot easier to deal with. Start with whatever room is the most troublesome and begin organizing papers you find one room at a time!
Decide How You Will Store Your Documents That You have to Keep
Everyone has their own preferred system for organizing. We have these amazing and sturdy plastic bins that hold documents that we need to keep. Other options include file cabinets or even a small safe will do the trick. As long as you have a system for how you are going to store the paper documents so that they are no longer cluttering up surfaces and areas of the house, the mess will easily become organized and under control.
Separate the documents into categories
Make sure you have clear categories for your documents to go in. It doesn’t make much sense to put receipts together in a pile with recipes, plus it will just cause frustration when you are looking for a particular document. In order to control clutter most efficiently, try storing similar documents together and label what type of papers they are somewhere in their storage bins. That way, when you need to look through old bills or statements, you will know exactly in which folder you should be browsing.
Remember, your system can be whatever works best for you. As long as every page has a place to go and you can easily find it, your system should work. For example, we store files of our tax documents by year. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to go back and find a receipt or a particular tax document. It’s super easy when all the files are clearly labeled.
Shred documents that you do not need
Invest in a good cross shredder! If there are any loose pages that you discover during the organizing process that you no longer need, you should probably shred them and get rid of these papers. It doesn’t make sense to take up valuable storage space for pages that you didn’t need to keep around in the first place. It might also make it harder for you to find the important pages in amongst the less useful ones. Decide what papers are important for you to keep and destroy the rest.
How Long Should You Keep Papers?
Supporting Tax documents: 3-7 years
Paystubs: 1 year
Utility Bills: 1 month
Major financial records and tax returns: Store permanently
Scan your receipts!
Did you know you can earn gift cards and prizes by scanning your grocery receipts? Sign up for CoinOut, iBotta or Fetch and it will track your receipts! Simply save your receipts and take a photo of them. Each app will scan the receipts and then either distribute points or cash back depending on the app!
Once all of the paper clutter is put away and organized, it is very important to form a habit of always putting away loose pages into the proper storage bins immediately. If you simply leave them all out around the house again, they will only start to pile up, landing you with the problem you had right before you started. Make a habit of always having somewhere to store the paper documents you accumulate that you still feel a need to keep around. Start a household practice of not letting loose pages pile up around you with this guide for organizing paper clutter during quarantine. This requires everyone in the house to cooperate so that the clutter remains under control.