4 Easy Steps to Reduce Paper Clutter

Does the paper in your home bring you anxiety? Do you have paper cluttering your kitchen counters, dining room table, dresser or night stands? 

Well I did for years and years. It was so bad that I used to even shove papers in plastic grocery bags and hide them in my closet. Out of sight out of mind right?

NO! Not really those bags were always in my way when I was looking for something else. They were moved from one spot and placed in another. They just began to multiply and multiply. 

I never had a place for it to go and was afraid of throwing away anything important. I placed a false belief of importance on every piece of paper. Oh and I was always worried about identity theft so if I kept all that mail and paper then no one could ever get my information. 

Keeping all this paper was extremely frustrating when looking for important documents especially for an upcoming appointment.

I would go into a frenzy and drop the f-bomb a few dozen times while searching for that 1 missing document. I would tear my entire house apart going through those  grocery bags like a mad woman. Mind you I would never find that one important piece of paper that was needed at the time. 

The problem was that I did not have a system in place to store and organize my paper. Even when I tried to organize the paper I would just sort and make piles and back in those bags they would go. 

I needed a better system than using plastic bags!

Money & Time Wasted

I spent tons of money on colorful folders. I bought colored pens and markers to match each folder. I sat for hours creating labels and making everything neat and pretty.

Sounds great huh? It was a complete and utter failure. It was a pretty pile of paper that I did not need. I would have to buy out the entire stock of folders at Staples to contain all the paper I had accumulated over 10 plus years.

I bought a shredder thinking this will solve my problem. Brilliant right? Another fail. I ended up buying 2 more shredders as I had burned out the first one. Subsequently they all died from over use. The paper still was accumulating and piling up. I was so frustrated and gave up.

The paper was everywhere and so I tried hard thinking of a solution. I really just wanted to strike a match and burn it all.

Finally a Solution!

One day I thought the problem was not the paper I had but the paper that kept coming into my home via none other than my MAILBOX.

WOW! I had figured out the reason where most of this paper came from!!!! Now I had to find a solution to this but how can I stop all this mail from coming in. 

I know everyone has a different view on mail. My friend Babs and I have VERY differing opinions on mail. She loves, loves to get mail! It’s like she’s getting presents every time she opens her mailbox.

Oh how I dislike mail. It gave me so much anxiety. To me it felt like problems in a box that never ceased. Mail was not a gift I would ever want to receive. I think that’s why I shoved in plastic bags and hid it in the closet. It was like hiding the problems from myself.

So we all may not agree on the feeling that getting mail brings us. Whether you are excited like Babs or dread it like me, it still leads to that paper clutter being in your home.

Why do we still accumulate all this paper when we live in a digital age?

Let’s face it we will always have paper. We need our vital documents such as our birth certificates, deeds, insurance policies and the like. There are the kid’s school papers to be signed and not to mention all of their artwork. There are photographs, newspaper articles, magazines subscriptions and so much more.

Unfortunately we will never get rid of all of the paper in our lives so I have come up with a solution. In 4 easy steps you will be able to reduce and combat the incessant influx of paper into our homes.

The Solution: A Mail Sorting Station

You will need 3 items in order to set up your mail station:

Shredder

Basket

Waste Paper Basket or Recycling Bin

Now you are all set to create your very own mail station! Set up wherever it is convenient for you. I suggest by your front door so that paper isn’t going any farther into your home.

Begin Using your Mail Station

Everyday when you retrieve your mail from it’s box, follow the easy steps below::

Step 1

Shred all junk mail or mail you do not need

Step 2

Put the paper that can be recycled in the waste paper basket. I usually put the empty envelopes & advertisements once I have torn off my name & address into this bin. (I do not want to burn out another shredder by shredding items that are not confidential)

Step 3

Put the mail you will be keeping in the basket

Step 4

Go through the basket one per week and follow steps 1 & 2 when discarding any paper.

I usually go through my basket early Sunday mornings while drinking my coffee and the kids are still asleep. I actually enjoy this quiet time and it takes less than 15 minutes to go through.

Bonus: Some weeks there is no mail to go through!

I have been using this system for over a year and the paper clutter has been reduced and no longer do I dread going to the mailbox. Not as excited as my friend Babs but there are no more plastic bags shoved in closets and corners.

My Mail Sorting System

So you are probably saying to yourself “that’s fine but what about all the other paper in my home?”

No need to worry! You did not create those piles of paper over night. It will take time and that is okay. Each step you take will get you closer to getting rid of all the paper clutter and your desired result.

We will work together with getting rid of those paper piles in the rest of your home in my upcoming blog posts. This is just the beginning of your journey! For now just focus on your new mail system and stay in the moment!

I hope you enjoyed reading this and most importantly I hope this helped you to begin to deal with your paper clutter.

Please post, comment and share!  Also I would love to see how you set up your mail station so please post pics in the comment section!

THANK YOU FOR READING!

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