How-To: Ditch the Paperwork and Get Organized
If you're anything like me you have A LOT of papers, mail, business cards, and magazines laying around the house. I had no problem getting things like that organized, but it was keeping them organized that was the problem. Here are some tips that I used to help de-clutter my house and keep it clutter free. They worked for me, I hope they work for you!
Mail Station - Set up a station where you can collect all mail coming into the house. I try to go through the mail immediately and get rid of the junk which goes directly into the recycle bin. Check out the Martha Stewart Home Office Collection at Staples for great looking organization options or inspiration to make your own.
|Martha Stewart Home Office w/ Avery Stack+Fit Shagreen Organizer|
I found this vintage mail holder at Goodwill for less than $5 that I haven't gotten around to redoing yet. The drawer below holds our stamps, address labels, and envelopes. We get most of our bills electronically, so this is perfect for us.
Ignore those snazzy curtains. They were left by the homeowner and since we'll be moving soon I don't care to change them.
In/Out Boxes - You can use paint cans, small flower pots, or whatever you prefer to create cute In/Out "boxes." Pick up some alphabet stickers at your local craft store to label them. These are great for the kids' paperwork like report cards and permission slips that need to be signed and returned to school. Clipboards are also a great option if you're tight on space. They can be hung on a wall so you only need a minimal amount of space.
Folders - Use accordion style folders to keep track of tax information, bills, etc. To de-clutter even more, sign up for electronic bills and you'll get your monthly bill sent right to your email. It's a great way to go green as well! Collect all bills in a certain folder and set a certain time each month or week to pay them. Add reminders to your online calendar, organizer, or phone to track due dates. Move to a "Paid" or "Processed" folder once the bill has been paid.
Use file folders to organize your kids' report cards. Place their school picture for that year on the front, label it something like "Colten's - 5th Grade" for example, and you can keep all awards, activities, report cards, etc. in one place. Use file folders to track home repairs and warranty information. This is also where I keep all my owners manuals.
Binders - Organize business cards using a binder and baseball card sleeves (just like a coupon binder). This allows you to organize cards by category i.e. business related, home repair, dinning, etc. Keep the binder in the home office, in the kitchen by the phone, or in a drawer; wherever works best for you.
I get several different magazine subscriptions and I often find articles that share great recipes, workouts, home décor ideas, etc. Instead of keeping each magazine and stacking them in the corner, I started cutting out whatever interested me and putting them into binder. I have one for workouts, recipes, craft ideas, and home décor inspiration ideas. Each binder is organized by sub-category and pages are kept in page protector sleeves so I can easily flip through and find what I'm looking for. Magazine holders work great for this idea to!
Sorry, the page protector makes the picture a little blurry.
So what do you do with all those magazines once you've clipped out what you want? Here are some ideas: 1) Drop them off at your doctor's office or laundromat. 2) See if residential homes, hospices, or hospitals would be able to use them. 3) Use them as material for children's art projects or some cool wall art you make yourself! 3) Shred them and use as filler when shipping boxes or save them to use as packing material if you're moving. 5) Recycle them. Magazines are accepted by all community recycling programs and paper bins.
For more help getting organized, check out Organizing Homelife. She's got a ton of FREE printables to help you get organized and stay organized. I love her stuff, like this one:
I hope this helps get things organized in your house!