Paper clutter can be unnoticeable at first until they accumulate into a large pile and eventually gets out of control in your home.
Getting annoyed with all the unsightly letters, bills and receipts? These solutions will get you to get started with getting rid of unnecessary paper clutter for good!
1. Sorting Out The Clutter
1.1 How Long To Keep Your Papers
If you have been asking yourself “How can I organize my paper documents at home?”, one tip to set you on the path is to create an organizing guide for your clutter.
Organize it according to how long you need your papers for; a few months, a few years, and forever. That way, you’ll have a clearer outlook on not just the amount of paper clutter you have, but also whether they should be in your home.
Disclaimer: This infographic serves only as a guide. We acknowledge that different homeowners have different opinions on how to store their vital documents. Deciding that should ultimately be up to you! But, don’t be a paper hoarder!
Tip: Often experiencing faded receipts though items that are still under warranty? Simply snap a picture of the receipt once you’ve gotten your hands on them. Then, create a photo album tagged ‘Receipts’ in your phone!
Further Classifying Your Papers
To give yourself an extra edge over your organization, think of what needs to be filed and how to dispose of unnecessary paper clutter.
- To recycle
- To shred – paper with personal information
- To file
- Sentimental clutter
1.2 Split The Clutter According To Family Members
Now that you have your paper clutter sorted out, batch them according to which family member they belong to. For this method, you’ll need storage boxes with sufficient space, and label it according to the family members you have. If you have a pet, be sure to include their paperwork too!
1.3 How To Deal With Sentimental Clutter
The thing about sentimental clutter is that they have loads of nostalgia associated with them. They’re like “adult teddy bears”, according to Julie Holland, an assistant psychiatry professor from the New York University School Of Medicine.
We also keep paper items from our loved ones, like cards and letters from family members, to keep them in memory. But these can contribute to the paper clutter if kept unchecked. To solve this, here are a few ways to deal with that:
- Back Them Up: Save a virtual copy of your treasured item, by scanning or taking a photo of the document
- Scrapbooking: You don’t have to go all out with crafting supplies. Just use a simple unlined notebook, and glue the mementoes to the pages.
- Pass Them On: Consider contributing your personal items to a donation drive, such as the Singapore Freecycle Network.
1.4 How To Deal With User Manuals & Warranties
As you go through your piles of papers, you’ll definitely find user manuals and warranties of your different household belongings (e.g. television, air-conditioner). So what do you do with them?
- User manuals: Check if a digital copy is available online. If it is, you can download them and keep them in a folder on your computer. If it isn’t available online, only keep the pages that are in your language – you’ll be reducing a lot of paper clutter in your home.
- Warranty: Staple your warranty with its credit card receipt. You might want to consider photocopying it as the ink might fade away. Write down the end-date of the warranty at the top of your receipt and file it together with its corresponding user manual (if you’re keeping the hardcopy manual).
Tip: File your warranties according to its end date; keep those with the closest end date at the front. Each time you go back to file away a new warranty, you can easily get rid of those that warranties that are already expired.
2. Create A Filing System
Filing isn’t just about lumping the papers into one folder! In fact, creating and sticking to a filing system will make your decluttering journey easier. Categorise your documents based on your lifestyle needs.
2.1 Filing Drawers/Cabinets
Tab your sections by the types of document, such as:
- Manual & warranties
- Work (& more)
This way, you’ll have a clearer distinction between every section. Don’t overstuff your folders, and make sure that the filing drawers/cabinets you pick can hold the papers you need to store.
Tip: If you’re unsure if your papers can fit, get a spare box to practise with first before storing them into folders.
And of course, remember to label your filing drawers to have a bird’s eye view of what’s in them.
3. Have A Filing Schedule
Papers are items that can pile up really quickly when left unsorted. To maintain your paper organization for a long time, you need to set up a filing schedule. Dedicate a few hours each week to properly file all your papers and get rid of those that you no longer need.
By clearing your paper piles, you could also look out for any important documents that you might’ve missed out on. You can even try adopting the 1-in-1-out method – for every document you file in, remove 1 old document. This ensures that your files aren’t filled to the brim.
Once you get into the habit of doing weekly filing, you’ll realise that managing your paper clutter isn’t difficult after all.
4. Go Digital
4.1 Opt for e-Bank Statements & Bills
As our world is evolving digitally, certain aspects of life will change along. Part of the paper clutter comes from our bills and bank statements. These are unavoidable, but you can save some space by saving and keeping a note of your finances digitally.
4.2 Reduce Paper Subscriptions
Subscribing to newspapers and monthly magazines can offer a great variety of reading material, but soon enough, you won’t need them. Reduce the pile-up by cancelling your existing subscriptions, and switch to electronic versions. You’ll still stay in the know, but save space at the same time!
If there is something important that you want to keep, tear out the page that you want to save, then donate your spare magazines and newspapers that cause the clutter.
It’s easy to accumulate paper clutter, but what’s more important is getting rid of that, and maintaining the cleanliness of your home! If you’ve been unsure on how to start decluttering, we hope these tips have given you a few ideas to help you kickstart your journey to a well-organized home!
Browse our range of Desk Organizers here.
Also check out on StyleMag: Home Organization & Decluttering Challenges To Take On (+ FREE Checklist)