Paper Organizing Systems that Really Work

May 25, 2023

Everyone deals with paper clutter, especially at the end of the school year, it can feel like paper is coming at you in all directions. It’s helpful to have a couple paper organizing systems that really work set up to keep the paper piles to a minimum.


  • Deal with it daily. The #1 secret to keeping paper clutter to a minimum is to deal with it daily. Processing mail, school papers, and any other paper that makes its way into your home right away is the best way to keep it from becoming overwhelming.  Clutter is one of my FIVE DAILY TASKS.  Paper falls under the clutter umbrella – if you follow my routine, make sure you’re including paper in your daily clutter routine.
  • Use a filing system. This can be drawers or a box, the most important thing is that you have a system in place for those things you need to keep. If you have a filing cabinet in your office take the time to sort through the file folders and papers or at least your paper pile. You can see how I organize all of our paper and my office here.
  • Shred, shred, shred.  Buy a good quality shredder and use it.  Here’s the one we have – I looked it up and I bought it in 2013 and it’s still going strong. Don’t want to buy a shredder?  Google shred day in your town or call your local bank – many towns and banks have one or two days a year where you can bring your stuff to be shredded.
  • Get rid of unwanted mail.  There’s a free app called Paperkarma – just scan your unwanted mail, they contact the sender, and the mail is gone. If you’re sick of getting those pre-screened credit offers you can go to optout pre-screen via the Federal Trade Commission to get off that list.
  • Scan important papers.  Save them to an external drive or cloud storage. Here are a couple I like: Everrnote– a way to digitally remember everything. Neat and Doxie are digital scanning devices you can use. Most printers have scanners you can use as well.
  • Store photos digitally.  I’m sure that this is another post, but I use Amazon Photos, Dropbox and an external hard drive, but there are lots of options out there for slimming down the picture stacks. Print a book once every year or two and you’ll be on your way to keeping those photos updated. If you’re behind, start with the current year and work backwards.
  • Store pdfs and printables digitally.  I store pdfs in Dropbox or on iCloud. Set up a folder for each category and you can quickly find any printables you need. Everything’s stored in the cloud and can be found on any device – easy peasy. Did you know that if you have a tablet, like an iPad you can use printables paperless with an app like Notability that lets you digitally write on your pdfs and take notes with you anywhere?

Don’t miss the Summer Sale in the shop!

The Guide to going Paper-Less is all about living with less paper – if this is an area you struggle with, I highly recommend grabbing the guide to help you in this area.

What’s the Secret to Getting Rid of Paper Clutter for Good?  

Dealing with it DAILY!  It comes in daily, deal with it daily to keep it away. Here are a couple of my favorite ways to cut back on what comes in the house.

Here’s your paper clutter checklist:

Start with this and if it’s extensive, set aside a little bit of time every night this week to work through it.
Next up, work on going through bills – this may or may not be included in the paper pile section in your home, but figure out a system for this.
I’ll talk more about photos on Wednesday but figuring out a quick plan of attack for dealing with photos is important!
This can be really difficult, if nothing else, just sit down and write down a goal for this area and work on it over the next month or two.
Start a system for this now even if your kids are little, trust me. The time flies and it just gets harder as the kids get older.

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