Declutter Week: Paper

Declutter Week: Paper

Keep working on your routines this week. Try them out, see if they’re working for you. (And, do I need to say it? If it doesn’t work for you, tweak it until it does.) In the meantime, let’s move on to the next part of the home reset – decluttering.

Paper is my biggest nemesis. As a paper crafter, I have a love-hate relationship with it. Pretty paper, yes. Junk mail, no. There are receipts, encouragements to refinance my home, grocery sale notifications, information about  monthly pool service (we don’t have a pool), bills, insurance information, statements, takeaways from events, things I want to put in a scrapbook…I’m sure you know what I mean, because you get some or all of it too.

Don’t let me mislead you – I do not have a handle on our paper. Sure, I try to get the junk mail in the recycle bin or a bag to be shredded at work as soon as it comes in the door, but I don’t have a regimented routine for dealing with the rest of it. Instead, paper tends to live on a small desk in our living room and on a corner of our dining table. I deal with it when it bothers me – that is, when it starts to threaten to fall on to the floor or we are running out of table to eat on. This tends to be about once a month. In all honesty, when I’m working a normal work schedule and able to work from home on Tuesdays, the paper does get dealt with on a more regular basis. When I’m not – well, paper avalanches tend to be a more regular threat.

Here’s what I do when the paper is bothering me. First, I separate out the junk from the stuff that I want/need to keep. I recycle anything that doesn’t have our name/address on it. (Stuff that does gets set aside to be shredded. Better to be safe than sorry.) I made a set of file folders from a kit purchased from Freedom Filer quite a few years ago and use them for the household filing. I file the papers I want to keep by month. Sometimes I just toss in all the things, including the items that I want to keep for scrapbooking purposes. Sometimes, the memory items go into my craft room. (See aforementioned part where I don’t really have a system yet.)

I am trying to get myself using the command center that I set up about a month ago. I have these folders set up:

  • Bills 1-15
  • Bills 16-31
  • In Progress
  • Upcoming

Really, the upcoming folder gets the most use – it’s where I put stuff that we need that I don’t want to lose, like the boarding papers for the Alaskan cruise we took in September or the recall notification for one of our vehicles. Since I deal with bill paying all day, every day at work, my husband is actually the one who keeps the family budget and pays the bills. So, the bills don’t really tend to make it into the folder before being paid. We get the bill, he opens it and schedules it into online bill pay pretty much right away.

Do you have a routine set up for your paper? How successful are you at managing it?

Daily Challenge: For some, it’s on the dining table or kitchen counter. Sometimes it’s scattered. Wherever it is, collect the paper that has accumulated at your home, get rid of the trash, and handle the rest. (file? pay or schedule a bill? rsvp for an event? add something to your calendar? whatever it is that needs to be done.) If you have more than can be dealt with completely in 30 minutes, spend 30 minutes dealing with it and schedule as many blocks as needed in the future. If you’re having trouble finding blocks of time, consider processing while you’re doing something else like watching tv.

Declutter Week: Paper | Modern Home Economics


31 Days 2016 - Reset Your Home

This post is a part of the series 31 Days to Reset Your Home, part of the 31 Days challenge. Please join me during the month of October. Each day I’ll be posting what I’m working on, challenges so you can join in, and update my progress (and hopefully hear about yours!). The 31 Days challenge is a writing challenge to pick a topic and write a post on it every day in October.

This entry is post 5 of 21 in the series 31 Days 2016 - Reset Your Home

Sewist, knitter, reader, dancer. Wife. Lover of things vintage and retro.


  1. On Organize 365 she has something called a “Sunday Basket”. It’s a way to get paper clutter under control and also be more productive. I was skeptical at first because I’ve tried similar things that didn’t work for me, but for some reason, her specific system/explanation made so much sense to me. I love it and have never had paper under this much control before!!

    • I tried the Sunday Basket, but didn’t get the habit to stick. Really haven’t been able to get much to stick when it comes to dealing with paper at home. Maybe I’ll try it again. 🙂

Comments are closed.