5 Amazingly Easy Steps to Conquer the Paper Monster

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosures page .

One of my most disturbing #adulting memories of my older sister involves learning a valuable lesson about the paper monster.

The memory is going into her house one day before I was married and seeing this giant pile of paperwork and mail that I swear had to weigh like 50 pounds, and just sort of marveling at how large it was; and then later in the same day have her start freaking out because the phone got cut off. Because it didn’t get paid.

Now mind you, it wasn’t not paid because they didn’t have the money, quite the contrary–they had plenty of money! She simply forgot to pay the bill because there was so much dog gone paperwork that she couldn’t find the bill!

When I realized that was the real reason she hadn’t paid it, my brain started working and trying to figure out what in the heck went wrong for them to constantly have such a large paper monster that she couldn’t find something as simple as the phone bill.

Now contrary to what you may be thinking right now, I was an actual adult at this point in time–however I did not understand where all this paperwork came from and how she could not have gone through it already for it to get to that point. How could she not see that she was in desperate need of conquering the paper monster??

 

paper organization important, paper organization tips, paper organization ideas, paper organization household, paper organization binder, paper organization storage, paper organization kids, paper organization system, paper organization diy, paper organization home, paper organization diy, paper organization office, paper organization file, paperwork organized, paperwork organizing, paperwork storage, paperwork declutter, paperwork office, paperwork ideas, paperwork filing, paperwork drowning in, paperwork too much, paperwork overload, paperwork school, paperwork storing

Now that I’m a parent I fully understand that jobs and kids and trips and life in general get so much in the way of everything you’re trying to accomplish and keep going, and all of the plates are trying to spin in the air all at one time that sometimes it feels like an avalanche of paperwork that you simply do not have time to go through.

My house used to regularly get in this sort of state, until I found a pretty cool organization website that talked about how you need to get a handle on your paperwork. I had heard of this before but I always thought it was the silliest thing ever. I mean, how could you possibly get eaten by the paper monster… But now, I understand that this is a total legit possibility.

Because paperwork is one of those things that seems to grow with as if it’s its own entity in our house from the mail to the kids paperwork that comes home from school every single day. And if your household is the anything like ours it sort of takes a life on its own and takes over every nook and cranny, every surface, every basket, every backpack, and every cubby! So let’s talk about how to put a muzzle and a choke collar on that thing, eh?

paper organization important, paper organization tips, paper organization ideas, paper organization household, paper organization binder, paper organization storage, paper organization kids, paper organization system, paper organization diy, paper organization home, paper organization diy, paper organization office, paper organization file, paperwork organized, paperwork organizing, paperwork storage, paperwork declutter, paperwork office, paperwork ideas, paperwork filing, paperwork drowning in, paperwork too much, paperwork overload, paperwork school, paperwork storing

 

Other posts you may be interested in...  Tips to Keep Your Home Costs Down

1. Mail

 

The first thing that we want to start with in paperwork organization is to reduce the amount of paperwork that’s coming in in the first place. This can easily be done for the mail by going to THIS SITE. There are several steps to take your name off mailing lists that will dramatically reduce the amount of junk mail you’re getting. (It can take up to 90 days to take full effect, so just be patient.)

Once you have the amount of junk mail reduced you can also look at things like magazines that are coming in. If you have magazines that you don’t even read it’s really simple to go online into the subscription area, enter your information, and cancel the subscription. If you don’t want to cancel it you can maybe have a designated place to set magazine aside where you either donate them to doctors’ offices or other places where people just basically have to sit and wait. Or donate them to somebody else who could use them like a family member or friend that actually reads this type of magazine.

Unfortunately that’s about the only thing that you can reduce at this point besides things like receipts and shopping list any kind of paperwork that sort of accumulates in your purse or bag that you carry around with you.

 

2. School Papers

 

Paperwork that comes from the school and from your kids during the school year, unfortunately, can normally not be reduced unless you have a classroom that has decided to go paperless parentheses and–God bless you if you are in that category–because for some schools, especially in smaller towns, we seem to have a problem with going paperless and going more towards the digital world these days…

Kids have a tendency to just unload their entire folder on the counter top, or just basically plop their folder right on the countertop. So either way I’ve got to go through all these papers from what they call their Tuesday folder, and sort through everything that’s in there. So everything either gets thrown away or recycled, put in a pile for to-do, or I can post things up to refer back to (upcoming events, etc.) I have little clippies on our command central station that has each kid’s name on it.  Those papers that deal with things like field trips, parties, or school events, etc get stuck up in those clips so that we always know where that information is. It’s always in that clip.

Other posts you may be interested in...  How to Find the Perfect Rental

Anything that needs to be signed and sent back immediately gets signed and put back into the folder to go straight back to the teacher.

And if there is any appointment request, reminder, etc with a date set on it, I immediately put it in my calendar.

 

3. Paper Basket

 

The Paper Basket is a basket that’s used to accumulate things that don’t immediately have a place. Sort of a catch-all, but you can even organize it so that it’s not nearly as bad as you’re probably imagining. Mine is set up with files in it for things like ‘tax documents and receipts’, ‘pet info’, ‘kids’ school papers’ (that we save digitally for their school year books), ‘to-do’, ‘bills’, ‘to go over with hubby’, ‘recipes’, and ‘into household binder’.

If anything goes into the Paper Basket, it should be immediately filed, but one day a week you should go through everything to file and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. I even throw things in ours like extra Kindle fires that need to be sold or donated—but need to have all data erased first, etc. (we have a big basket).

Now whenever we have all of these papers that come in and just kind of accumulate on top of the counter top, normally what I end up doing is sort of putting it all in one big stack so it’s at least not covering the entire counter top and then sorting through that as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of a kitchen desk area in our house, but my office actually happens to be fairly close to the kitchen. Our Paper Basket is actually sitting right in the doorway of my office so it’s pretty easy for us to just go place everything inside of that basket. I actually tell everybody, when they bring receipts in or any kind of paperwork that I need to deal with as long as it’s not urgent, that it goes in that Paper Basket.

 

Other posts you may be interested in...  Cut Laundry Time An Astonishing Amount With These 6 Useful Tricks

4. Family Binder

 

A really option that you might want to consider is creating a household binder. The Household Binder keeps things like takeout menus, business cards for anything that needs to be done around the house, the cards for doctors offices, emergency information, just sort of a general guideline page for babysitters–any of that information that that somebody would need it an emergency or that you would need just to kind of keep things running around the household in case you’re not around to ask questions about all of that.

I also actually put in this binder any information that comes from the school at the beginning of the school year because my kids’ teachers will send home forms that talk about rules of the classroom, how to get in touch with them, and some of them even give information about themselves so that if I need ideas for teachers’ gifts throughout the year, I have that information right there. No searching for it online somewhere– Which I greatly appreciate! There are a lot of good options for household binder printable pages.  I’ll list several of my favorites here so if you want to go check those out. Basically whatever you choose is going to be dependent upon how you run your household the way your brain works and what works best for you. Some great free options for printables for your binder can be found at:

Blooming Homestead

Organizing Homelife

Organizing Moms

 

5. Work to Keep the Clutter Cleared

 

And the most important part of this is going to be keeping all that clutter cleared. The monster can totally take on a second-or third or twelfth–life if you let it. At any given time. Just stay on top of it. If you see anything lying around, use the 60 second rule: If it takes 60 seconds or less to take care of it, JUST DO IT.

 

Want a checklist to slay your paper monster? Click the image below!

paper organization important, paper organization tips, paper organization ideas, paper organization household, paper organization binder, paper organization storage, paper organization kids, paper organization system, paper organization diy, paper organization home, paper organization diy, paper organization office, paper organization file, paperwork organized, paperwork organizing, paperwork storage, paperwork declutter, paperwork office, paperwork ideas, paperwork filing, paperwork drowning in, paperwork too much, paperwork overload, paperwork school, paperwork storing, conquer paper monster, organizing paper, organizing paperwork, reducing paper, paper system

 

Let me know how your steps went to get organized in the comments below! I love hearing from ya!

15 Comments
  • Melanie J Sparks

    September 4, 2017 at 11:34 am Reply

    Excellent tips. I know once that pile gets to a certain point it drains my energy just looking at it. But all we have to do is start, one piece at a time. 🙂

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:52 am Reply

      Melanie–oh believe me, sometimes it’s just so much that I’d rather just walk away than deal with it. But, yeah….that whole ‘how do you eat an elephant’ thing has to come into play at some point…lol! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Stephanie

    September 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm Reply

    Great ideas! I have a filing cabinet in my closet with most of our paperwork, except the sensitive documents that are kept in the safe. And I try to scan anything I can so I have less paper laying around.

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:51 am Reply

      Stephanie, I’m in the process of the scanning thing right now–whittling away at a pile of paperwork from the past few years of school stuff I saved from the kids. The OneNote phone app has been pretty useful in that because you can immediately file the pic in the correct folder. Kudos to you for already having this in place!

  • Elise Cohen Ho

    September 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm Reply

    Brilliant tips. Clutter is so easy to drown in.

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:49 am Reply

      Elise, Yes–SO easy to drown in! With kids it seems to never end. And I’m appalled at the paperwork these kids’ schools generate! lol! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Shell

    September 4, 2017 at 10:49 pm Reply

    These are great ideas to declutter and cut down on paper mess!!

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:48 am Reply

      Hi, Shell! Thanks so much! This seems to be one of the biggest frustrations in our household. Hope the tips help!

  • Kristin

    September 4, 2017 at 11:17 pm Reply

    These are fantastic tips! I’m so glad I pinned this for later because we need these tips for sure. Paperwork and mail coming in is something I hate to deal with.

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:47 am Reply

      Hi, Kristin! Thanks so much! I really can’t figure out how in the world we get SO MUCH mail!! It’s maddening. Hope you’re able to get a better handle on it!
      xo,
      Stella

  • Gayle | EverSimple Mom

    September 5, 2017 at 8:01 am Reply

    You would think with the technology we have now that there would be so much less paper… but somehow I am still swimming in it LOL. These are some great tips though, I love the binder organizational idea!

    • Laura

      September 5, 2017 at 8:46 am Reply

      Yes, Gayle, you would think, lol! The binder has saved me tons of time looking up random stuff! Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by!

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    September 5, 2017 at 10:00 am Reply

    Such great ideas (and have to admit that I’ve missed one of those bills for the same reason as your sister)! I just cleared out all my papers, and hope to keep it that way! Thanks for these good tips!

  • Rhonda Swan

    September 5, 2017 at 10:47 am Reply

    Cheers to an unstoppable post!

  • Minakshi bajpai

    September 5, 2017 at 12:07 pm Reply

    Fabulous and interesting post. All these points are very useful for conquering the paper monster. Very informative article.

Post a Comment