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Busy Mom Hacks to Conquer Your Paper Clutter with Samsill
Paper clutter is the real deal. For most of us, it comes in faster than we can get it out. And that usually results in piles of it. Everywhere.
Today, most of our paperwork can be stored online, clearing up space in our file cabinets for more important things (like our hidden chocolate stash!).
But that doesn’t stop the mailman from bringing it and the school from sending it home. There are still certain people and organizations that rely on paper, so you have to be able to accommodate it.
So to help you get a handle on your paper clutter, I’m going to walk you through some busy mom hacks to organize and conquer your paper clutter once and for all!
First, we’re going to decide what paper you should be getting rid of. Then we’re going to organize what you’re going to keep. And finally, we’re going to set up a paper flow system so you know exactly what to do with every piece of paper that comes into your house going forward. This final piece is so important to avoid the paper from building back up and becoming a problem again.
And I’m super excited to work with our sponsor, Samsill today! Samsill is not only a leader in office supplies, but their products are bright, fun, and perfect for any busy mom’s space! I was compensated for this post, but all opinions, as usual, are my own!
Purge + Organize
The first step in getting rid of paper clutter is to purge the piles.
This is going to be the most time-consuming part, but if you follow the steps in this article, you hopefully won’t have to do it again. So think of it as an investment in your space and your sanity. And take the time to do it right!
The paper that you decide to keep is going to depend completely on your own situation, but there are 3 general categories that it may fall under: items that need your immediate attention, reference items, and items you need to archive for future use.
If you aren’t sure if you need to keep something, either consult a professional (accountant, lawyer) or ask yourself if you need it, and, if you do, can you store it or access it somewhere online.
Whatever you do, don’t keep something just in case. Because just in case is just an excuse.
Next, we need to organize like with like. I prefer to keep my paper in binders. Grab some cute ones, like these Samsill 3 Ring Binders, and you can easily keep them on any shelf.
And I’ve found that the paper I keep around can be sorted into the following 4 categories.
The first is your financial paperwork. And I’m not talking about saving every single credit card statement. In fact, don’t do that, you can always access those online!
I’m not an accountant or a tax professional, so I can’t tell you what you need to keep. So if you aren’t sure, consult a professional.
In most cases, tax information needs to be kept for a certain amount of time (depending on where you live and the complexity of your taxes) as well as any paper ledgers tracking your cash flow.
I would first see what you can legally store electronically. The documents that you are advised to keep a paper copy of should then be minimal and will fit nicely in a Samsill 3 Ring Binder.
The next common paper pile is that stack of business documents. This can be anything from the internet bill you’re writing off to the office supply receipts to client invoices.
Many tax professionals do accept some of this in electronic form, but a lot still prefer to have the physical documents.
And not only is this one of the largest piles that you’re likely to face, it’s also one of the most important! You definitely want to make sure you have everything you need. And you also want to make sure that you know what’s where.
The Samsill DUO 2-in-1 Organizer is perfect to keep all of this organized!
On one side of the binder is a 7 pocket accordion style expanding file, perfect for storing receipts and loose paper.
On the other side is a 1 inch 3 ring binder, perfect for organizing the rest of the documents that keep your business afloat.
It comes in a bunch of great colors, perfect for any decorating scheme!
Another common pile of paper clutter is the paperwork that you need to fill out or reference on a day-to-day basis. This is the mail, the school papers, the church schedule, your son’s soccer schedule.
Again, the first thing you need to do is purge the excess. Go through it all and don’t keep anything that you don’t need! That means ditch the IKEA bookshelf instructions and shred that stack of junk mail you left for “tomorrow”!.
Everything left can be kept together in a Samsill 3 Ring Binder for easy access.
Think of it like your family brain – everything you need to know in one convenient place!
In Case of Emergency
The last paper stack that I like to keep around is everything that may be needed in case of an emergency.
This includes phone numbers, emergency contacts, allergies, medications. This is incredibly helpful in case Grandma is watching the kids or you have a sitter. Think about what they may need in the event something happens and have it all together in one binder.
You also need to consider what they won’t need: your daughter’s entire medical history, the pediatrician’s summer house number, who their third-grade teacher was. Having too much irrelevant information in this binder not only wastes space but could actually make the situation worse if someone actually needed to find something in there and they couldn’t because there was just too much stuff.
To help you out with this one, I’ve created an In Case of Emergency printable for you! Just print it off, fill it out, and keep it in the front of your Samsill 3 Ring Binder for easy access!
Creating a Paper Flow System
Now that you’ve gone through and organized all of your paper clutter, you need a plan of action going forward.
So consider what you want to do to every single piece of paper that comes into your house.
Most of mine goes directly into the shredder. I don’t wait until Labor Day to shred it all, I do it immediately. It seriously takes two seconds if you don’t let it build up.
A good plan of action is to sort everything into 3 different categories as it comes in: what you’re going to keep, what you’re going to shred, and what you’re going to throw away/recycle.
The paper that you decide to keep can then be sorted into the above categories, or you can create additional categories that fit your needs.
If you aren’t sure of what all paper you bring home, then keep a log for a week. Make a note of what all comes in and what you did to keep it organized. Did you shred it? File it? Whatever you decide to do this time, make sure you do it every time. It will eventually become a habit. And once that happens, your paper clutter problem will be a thing of the past!
What do you do with your paper clutter? Let us know in the comments!
And make sure you check out Samsill’s full line of office supply products on Amazon!
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I really like your infographic (paper flow) which helps me to visualize immediately all the paper that goes in an out of my life! I keep telling my kids, try to “touch” paperwork/mail once. Take care of it right away, whether it goes in the trash, file, etc. Good article.
Thank you so much!
I found this article very helpful!
Thank you so much!