Tackling Paper Clutter in Your Home

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Tackling Paper Clutter in Your Home

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I don’t know about you but dealing with paper clutter is a constant battle.

Even when selecting paperless enrollment from various businesses, I still get paper all the time! Birthday cards, Holiday cards, Thank you cards, post-it notes, to-do lists, important mail, instruction manuals, college papers, books, magazines-it goes on and on!

In this blog post, we are going to focus on three main words to declutter your life paper wise: condense, control, and eliminate
sentimental clutter.  

If you are like me, sentimental clutter can be challenging to navigate through. I kept pretty much all my letters and cards from every birthday or special occasion. When my husband and I moved to our home, we were faced with paper, paper, and more paper!

It can be hard-throwing away cards from loved ones, kids’ drawings, or a college/high school paper you did really well on. Don’t worry, take your time by starting little by little. The results will come, soon you will notice less of that sentimental clutter and you won’t even miss it!

Tips on Condensing Sentimental Clutter:

  1. Recycle envelopes. Chances are the envelope that holds a birthday card or whatever occasion card is blank or it just says your name on it. No need to keep the outer envelope, it just adds excess bulk.
  2. Recycle the cards that are more from Hallmark than the person who bought it. Sometimes people will just sign their name at the bottom of a card and let the Hallmark card do the talking.
  3. Focus on the cards with the most impactful messages. A card that says “congrats, you did it!” or “happy birthday to a very special person” don’t really resonate with the heart. It is okay to appreciate those messages and then later discard, like Marie Kondo thanking items for their purpose. Keep the cards that are deeper and the writer really put their heart into the message.
  4. If it is a drawing from a child or a paper you did well on in college, scan it and store it digitally. That way it won’t take up space in your home.
  5. Don’t feel obligated to keep everything. Remember, most sentimental clutter you have, you probably have not been thinking about it for most of the year, or in years past. It’s the out of sight out of mind mentality. Bringing it out will make it difficult to deal with, but I promise you won’t be missing it.
  6. Recycle duplicates. Do you have tons of Highlights for Kids magazines? I know I did. Or maybe you have a magazine subscription, tons of letters from your kids, grandparents or significant other. Remember, it is about keeping what really stands out. Not the happiest analogy, but imagine you received word that there is a nearby fire and you need to evacuate in a few hours. Think, if this were to catch on fire, would I miss it? If you would miss it, keep it.
  7. Photographs. This can be really hard. If you have digital copies, go ahead and throw them away if they aren’t being housed in a scrapbook or frame. If you don’t have a digital backup, scan loose photos.

Professional Paper Clutter

At my job, I get paper paystubs when I get a paycheck every two weeks. Seems silly as I am registered to receive paperless stubs (from the business that makes the payroll information), but I think my company may be required by law/or required by corporate to give out paper stubs. Since the payment history is accessible online, and I receive direct deposit (I also am paperless with my banking institutions) I can shred these paystubs.

I am shocked by how many companies waste paper when it could easily be saved by just converting to email or e-documents. In your home, you make the rules! You don’t have to keep work-related papers at home unless of course, you work from home.

Tips on Controlling Professional Paper Clutter:

  1. If possible, leave your work-related papers at work! This will help your home from becoming an office, not a home.
  2. Scan work-related papers, then discard in the recycle bin or shred the papers.
  3. Keep a small bin, tray, folder, or box to keep your important work papers. Try to avoid getting a filing cabinet because it may encourage unnecessary paper build up.
  4. Make a pending tray that needs to be attended to. Set a due date on it so you know by such and such date you need to get rid of it.

Important Information Paper Clutter

DMV renewal notices, online order receipts, bank statements, utility bills, hospital visit or medical letters, insurance statements, receipts, warranties, product manuals-there is A LOT of important information one could have. I know for me, papers like these ensued a bit of fear in me, like what happens if I throw it away and I need it later? Most of these important papers aren’t necessary to keep on hand at all times.

There are a few things that you should keep forever such as Marriage Licenses, Birth Certificates, Wills, Death Certificates, Paid Mortgage records, and Social Security cards.

Luckily, most stuff is accessible online nowadays. But for the stuff that is not, it is easy to scan and save securely online.

Tips on Eliminating Important Information Paper Clutter:

  1. Go paperless and opt for e-receipts whenever you can.
  2. For product manuals, these are optional in my opinion, because how often does one even reference a product manual? I keep mine in a clear ziplock, then I discard after a year has gone by, or when the warranty expired. Don’t feel obligated to keep every manual though.
  3. Take pictures of your sales receipts. An app called Fetch Rewards is one great way to store your receipts. By simply tapping the pic icon in the upper right corner of a recent submission, you can view the picture of your sales receipt. For every receipt you upload, you will receive points that can be turned into a gift card. Use this code to get your first 2,000 pts: code: JGUGX
  4. Discard paystubs, utility bills, bank statements, credit card receipts after one year, or discard securely once scanned onto your computer. If you are worried about your computer crashing, there are lots of cloud storage options such as Amazon Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.


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