The stream of paper clutter coming into our homes is overwhelming. These simple tips for sorting mail and papers will have your problem under control in a month or less!
Hi, it’s Brittany Wise from Our Home Made Easy. I am so excited to be joining Tasha here on Designer Trapped. Not only am I super passionate about sharing simple home inspiration and easy solutions for moms short on time, I love creating organizing strategies that work for anyone. I created the Making Weeknights So Easy free mini course to provide useable solutions for people who want to change their life.
When you decide to organize, it's easy to sort every piece of paper that you already have on-hand. But it's keeping the momentum going every day that makes organizing difficult especially when new pieces of paper arrive home every single night and you aren't prepared to sort through them. I'm talking about the school crafts, permission slips, and the bills and circulars that fill up our mailboxes. While you cannot stop the paper influx each day, you can easily organize each piece in 5 steps! (We chose the evening to do this, but you should pick the time of day that works best for your family.)
5 Steps to Conquer Paper Clutter
Make Room For The Paperwork
While it may seem counter-intuitive to organizing your papers, you really need one designated place for them. When you create your space, make sure it's very visible. You don't want to hide papers in the office and forget to look at them later. Your spot needs to very visible throughout a majority of your evening. The spot should only be one stack of papers in size and out in the open. Do you have a simple organizer that could hold your papers? This isn't the time to buy something new when you're still figuring out a working system.
Why should you keep the important stuff easily visible? You won't enjoy looking at it if you have to look at it all the time. Out of sight, out of mind, isn’t useful for the items that need your attention.
For the first week of organizing papers and sorting mail, place everything in the chosen spot. You could even designate a folder on the counter as the place where everything will go. Being perfectly pretty isn't the goal. Finally getting a grasp on handling the influx is the goal.
The next step is sorting mail quickly while standing close to your recycle can. It's so much easier to toss your mail while you are already holding it and it's not just lying in a pile. If you're unsure about a promotional ad, consider if you can find the coupon online at retailers like RetailMeNot. If you can, toss the circular. These days you can find any general promotion on most stores' websites or shopping apps.
Only keep sale codes that are specific to you. These would be points rewards or birthday promotions.
When it comes to grocery store ads you only want to keep them if you actively use them. If you are a meal planner, you may want to reference your store’s sale ads. But if they are already online, will you really use the mailer? Toss it. If you’re ever in doubt about a sale, you can easily pull up the circular in just a few minutes online.
If you’re saving an ad because you think you need it, watch to see if you ever refer to it when it comes time to shop. If you notice that you aren’t ever looking at ads, go ahead and feel comfortable tossing them.
Regardless of your usage of email and online bill pays, there will always be a need for sorting mail and pulling out anything that is time sensitive. Also you'll have school forms that need to be completed and signed and other important papers that must receive immediate attention. Choose a separate designated spot for the really important stuff that you need to tackle, and only keep this special stack in that area.
Make Your Area Look Nice
This isn't just about finding the cutest organizers from the store. Making your area shine really means that every single night you are thumbing through the paperwork. Your goal should be to have the spot empty when you & the family leave each morning.
Making The Papers a Habit
The biggest impact on organizing your papers is having the entire family on-board. Sure they may groan the first week, but if you can get them consistently emptying their book bags and mail onto your spot, you're halfway through the paper battle!
Once you are 2-3 weeks into organizing your papers and sorting mail, consider treating yourself to a new organizer for the space. Think of how you organize your papers now and find an organizer that is best suited for your papers and size of your spot.
For us, my husband built this wall organizer. It's the first thing our family sees when we walk in the back door and the last thing we pass by on our way out in the mornings. It's unavoidable and forces us to look at the papers.
Know When It Works— and When It Doesn't
Organizing your papers every night shouldn't feel overwhelming. While it certainly may take practice to develop a routine and consistently devoting 5-10 minutes each night to organize, it should be manageable.
Give yourself 4 full work weeks of building this habit where all papers go into the same area. 4 weeks of organizing. That's it. If it's not working for you, consider moving your spot closer to the recycling or remind everyone that you really need the papers taken out of their bags and put onto the counter. What other ways can you continue to make it better and easier for your family?
When it comes to the daily influx of papers, you and I can't stop them from entering the house. But we can create simple organizing systems that help make our lives easier. Commit yourself to spending one month creating a system that works well for your family. No more forgetting about signed slips or forgotten bills. You'll have the papers under control in no time!
Thank you for joining me today! If you are interested in more easy ideas for around the house, check out these blog posts below!
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