Paper is like bunny rabbits — it reproduces and reproduces AND leaves little piles everywhere. My house is often overtaken by this paper. I give this paper a good fight, but it is a mighty force. Thank goodness, I have been able to learn a few fighting tricks along the way. The tips below have helped me combat this infuriating thing called PAPER.
1. Check the mail over a recycling bin.
The mail can overtake your home if you are not careful. Be sure to check your mail immediately after retrieving from the mail box. As you read the mail, give each piece of mail a home. A recycling bin (sadly) is where most of my mail goes.
2. Use a spiral pocket notebook.
I love, love having a portfolio of pocket folders at my disposal such as this C-Line 8-Pocket Spiral-Bound Poly Portfolio, Letter Size, 1 Portfolio, Color May Vary (33080). Paperwork that needs to be EASILY ACCESSIBLE (e.g., bills, children’s school reminders) can be filed and stored in an easy-to-get-at location for when needed.
3. Take a photo—it will last longer.
Every week, my son brings home a letter to us. It is his weekly account of what he did that week in school. I love reading them; some of them are just priceless! [Did you catch the part about them being WEEKLY though?] Take those letters and add it to the other school work and the paperwork is amazingly, crazily, overwhelmingly A LOT!
So, I take a photo of those priceless papers and store them online in a computer file.
4. Convert electronic images into Memory Books.
Create a memory book of your children’s artwork, report cards, photos, school work—all the paperwork that you have captured by photo. Your kids will treasure it!
5. Store children’s artwork in a frame.
Use a frame such as the one pictured here (click photo for details) to frame your children’s artwork. The beauty of the frame is that you can rotate artwork with newer creations and store older artwork in the frame itself. I recommend selecting a frame that does NOT have a mat — even thought it is more attractive — so that it is easier to frequently update.
6. Clear the homework away with one fell swoop.
I don’t know where your children do their homework, but mine do it on the kitchen table—the E N T I R E kitchen table. Our nightly routine when dinner is ready is to shout, “Someone clear the table. Get your homework off the table.” However, my newest discovery is plastic baskets with handles — one for each child. My children can dump their homework in the baskets and even stick the whole basket in their back pack. However, I just saw these bins (also sized to fit in backpack). They should do the trick too — I may switch.
7. Create a command center.
Mail, school work, meals for the week, keys, calendars, and electronics all have a home in this newly-created command center. This has always been our informal command center. It just happened to also be the place where piles of “stuff” grew taller and taller. Now we have a system so that everything has a home and a purpose.
8. Pay bills electronically.
Eliminate paper bills by scheduling your payments to be made automatically each month. Every monthly bill has been set up to be paid online on the date scheduled. If hard copy bills are mailed to us, we know that — most likely — we can just shred it.
9. Invest in a shredder.
Some paperwork is too sensitive to be left in the hands of a trash can or recycling bin. Credit card statements or credit offers, for example, should be shredded. There is just something stress-relieving about shredding too. Maybe its the sound of the shredding . . . hmmm, or maybe it’s just me. You can place the shredder in a tall decorative basket too!
10. Invest in decorative boxes.
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