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Taming the Paper Clutter

Organizing paper clutter

Paper clutter makes me crazy!!  If I do not stay on top of it daily, it has a tendency to take up the counter space, end tables and anywhere little hands can drop it on their way to whatever they are doing at the time.  As a busy Mom, I find that if I stay on top of clutter, it becomes a much less daunting task.  Taming the paper clutter is a high priority.

Magazine-worthy closets are not something I aspire to achieve.  In an ideal world, I would love to have everything match and be so cute.  Instead, I look at organization as a great opportunity to use what I have on hand.  If it is in a closet or cabinet, it does not need to be fancy or decorative.  If you decide to set up organization bins in an office or where it will be visible, you may want to opt for the more magazine-worthy bins.

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Examples of Daily Paper Clutter

  • Kids’ completed homework and class work
  • Kids’ artwork
  • Teacher notes or School event fliers
  • Junk mail
  • Bills
  • Store ads
  • Letters, cards and personal greetings
  • Receipts
  • Medical summaries from doctor visits
  • Warranties from products purchased
  • Coupons


Organizing Tips

  • Group like items together, as they enter the house, and put them in their designated place.  For instance, I save the current year’s school papers for the whole school year.  This saves an issue if something is “missing” from a grade report or something needs to be used to study for a test.  

  • Recycle or trash anything you will definitely not use or need immediately. 

  • Put things in their designated place immediately.  Make sure the storage space is easily accessible or chances are it will not be used.  



Example Organization Containers

Use what you have on hand when possible to save money and time.


  • Small plastic tote for completed homework I keep all completed work for the duration of the school year in case a grade is not recorded or review of something is needed at the end of the year.  Once the school year is complete, I go through all of the work and keep an example of their handwriting from the year and anything special from the year.  The rest gets recycled.


  • Bins for artwork through the year.  I used inserts from Amazon Pantry orders which worked perfectly as a temporary holder in the closet.  You can use large cereal boxes, plastic magazine holders, etc.  When the bins are full, I go through the artwork and keep the things that I know I will cherish for years and add it to a bin I keep for each child.  You can make that decision as it enters the house, too.  If it is a coloring page from a coloring book, it has little long term value.  It is likely the page will yellow and be gross over time.  Of course, if it has a painted hand print of your little one, it is something to treasure.  This can go directly into the file tote.  
    • Each child has a file folder tote with legal size folders,  Each folder is noted with a school year or year of age.  I add examples of their handwriting, notes from teachers/friends and artwork from each grade or year of age.


  • Folder for Bills that need to be paid


  • Accordion file folder for receipts with at least 12 folder slots (  I label each folder section with a month and year to keep bill stubs that are paid and receipts from the month.


  • Small Tote or accordion folder for cards, letters, etc. that you choose to keep.  


  • 3-Ring binder with page protectors for medical information.  We have a binder for each member of the family which includes:
    • Immunization record copies for each year
    • Medical visit summaries where follow up care or instructions are given.
    • Family medical history is listed.


  • Folder or binder for warranties and operating instructions.  Currently, this is just a plastic pouch.  I only keep warranty information for major appliances and operating instructions for things that are difficult to use or maintain.  I typically do not keep this information for inexpensive toys or appliances.  


  • Zipper pouch for coupons or binder if you are a major coupon clipper.  I am a coupon clipper when it is convenient.  I do not search for coupons or anything.  If they come attached to something purchased or are for a store that I love, they go in a zippered pencil pouch in my purse so that I have them handy.  This is also where I store gift cards so that I carry them with me as I run errands.  
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