â€œYour home should be your sanctuary, your safe haven in this crazy world. It should be inspired by what you love, the memories youâ€™ve made, and the people you cherish.” -Melissa Michaels, “Make Room for What you Love.”
Melissa starts off with these two sentences in her book, â€œMake Room for What You Love,â€ and I couldn’t resonate more with those words. I have learned a lot about myself, my house, and my style of blogging these last 8 years. And I have fully embraced my home as my gift to myself, my family and the world who so desperately needs a safe place to land.
So I am on a virtual book tour with Melissa today and decided to focus on an area of clutter that I feel like I finally tamed. One of the things that makes me feel most cluttered is papers. I hate paper. I try my hardest to keep surfaces free of paper, because when I don’t, I feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Receipts, school papers, bills, checks, coupons, etc. Ugh. They drive me crazy unless they have a home. I do not mean a place to sit. I mean a home to live. If they don’t have a home they go in the trash can. The End. Paper be gone. I wanted to share some simple organization tips on how I deal with the paper monster in my house. Hopefully these tips will help you find yours!
1. Find your strategy for papers
Duh right? But seriously, you canâ€™t just say you will deal with them as they come. Bills on the kitchen counter work fine until you have to start prepping a meal and have to move them. Receipts are great in your purse until you have 5000 of them and you canâ€™t zip your purse closed. And then you feel cluttered and chaotic. You have to have a place, or a system where every piece of paper goes. Where do you put receipts, important documents, coupons, bills, checks, magazines, etc? Think of every piece of paper that enters your house and dedicate a place for each piece.
2. Have a filing cabinet or filing box somewhere in your home.
For me we actually have a fireproof filing cabinet with a lock for really important stuff like tax documents, DVDs of yearly photos, passports, medical bills, social security cards, birth certificates, etc. Then I have a filing cabinet in my office for manuals, receipts for the year, labels, etc.
3. Have a long term strategy for childâ€™s papers
Oh me oh my school papers will kill every flat surface in your house if you let it. For me, I dedicate a whole bin that goes in one of the IKEA Kallax storage units for school papers. Each of my kids have one. If there is something special from school that my children want to keep it goes in the bin. I used foam core from the Dollar Tree, an exacto knife and a straight edge to cut them to size. Then I used my trusty labeler to mark one for each year. My kids love going through their previous years and looking at how much their handwriting or drawing skills have improved. And the end of each year we go through what they chose to put in there and make sure they want to keep everything. The gray bins are from Target (as are the clips with their name on it) and the twine bins are from Ikea.
4. Have a VISIBLE place for weekly school papers
Every week my kids get a syllabus from their teachers. I print it along with any other important papers for the week like spelling lists, field trip forms, permission slips, etc., and I hang it on this check slide rack I purchased off Amazon. It is right in our kitchen between our kitchen and my studio and under the monthly calendar so my kids see it everyday. It is easy to grab when we need to look something up and easy to put back up when we are done. I love it and it has worked perfectly for my family. There is no more lost syllabuses or missed assignments now.
5. Find your system for coupons, receipts, and any other important but not urgent papers.
For me I made this knock off Target wall hanging organizer (no longer available). I added file folders and this is where I keep coupons, medical cards, school information (like calendars and schedules), and receipts. Each month I go through it and toss any expired coupons or receipts I no longer need. It also houses our keys, my purse, sunglasses and a few odds and ends. It says â€œBills and Checksâ€ but that system wasnâ€™t working so I found something else. I need to change those labels. I will add that to my to-do list 😉
Here are a few options from Amazon that might work.
6. Admit When it Isnâ€™t Working
Sometimes you will hit the jackpot with the system working for you on the first try. Sometimes you have to try and few to find what works for your family. I said in the previous paragraph that the â€˜Bills and Checksâ€ on the wall organizer didnâ€™t work for us. So I admitted it didnâ€™t work as well as planned and found something that is working fabulously. I took two wall envelope pockets from Target and with my Silhouette machine added a vinyl sticker for bills and checks (free file here if you have a Silhouette machine) and then hung them right at my husband’s desk. When the bills and cheeks come I immediately drop them in there for him to deal with when he is ready to do the banking. So donâ€™t get frustrated, just try something new. Yes it might cost you more money, but it will be a small price to pay for organization and a system you love.
7. Spend Money on Organization
Now I donâ€™t ever tell people to spend money on much. But there are a few things I think is worth an investment – beds, living room sofas/loveseats and storage. An unorganized, cluttered mess will make you feel uneasy, stressed and chaotic. It is worth a pretty penny to me to find organization solutions that work. It helps me have joy in my home knowing everything has a place and is well worth the investment.
What tips do you have to add that have worked for taming the paper monster in your home?
Eleven Gables / Craftberry Bush / At the Picket Fence / Julie Blanner / Beneath My Heart / Thrifty Decor Chick / Emily A. Clark / Reluctant Entertainer / My Sweet Savannah / Domestic Fashionista / At Home In Love / 320 Sycamore / Sunny Side Up / Happy Happy Nester / The White Buffalo Styling Co / Sweet and Simple Home / Finding Home Farms / In My Own Style / Fox Hollow Cottage / The House of Silver Lining / Infarrantly Creative / Fieldstone Hill Design / Shabby Nest / Today’s Creative Life / Sarah M. Dorsey Designs / Just A Girl / Southern Hospitality
*this post contains affiliate links