Papers, Papers, UGH more Papers!
Emily Hurley
April 7, 2014 in Design Dilemma
I am not a naturally organized person, but I really wish I were. (Doesn't everyone?) My arch nemesis seems to be paper in my house. Anything from mail to kid's school work to receipts. I'd love to hear how other people stay on top of this stuff and stay organized. Maybe it will finally inspire me to do the same. :)

Share your stories! (Photos encouraged)

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cabingirl13
I hate papers too....all the ones you mentioned and more paper stuff! I go through as much as I can stand everyday....all the junk or stuff not important or needed any longer goes in a bag for the bonfire. Receipts for groceries/gas etc. get thrown out right way- other purchases (clothes-shoes) usually end up on the fridge for a week or so....until I decide if I am keeping them or returning. Paystubs and insurance papers go in a drawer. My big bad mess is the phone table with monthly bills....not that there is much physical paper anymore as we do a lot of online banking....but it still gets messy and out of control. I think the worst is all the papers/flyers that come home from school every week- I try to make a decision about those right away- keep them or pitch! My hubby dumps all his receipts (and other junk from pockets) on the dryer every day....drives me crazy! I try to keep up- some times it works...some times it out of control.
0 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 3:56PM
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stryker
Sort into three stacks as it comes in: 1) important to deal with soon, 2) it can wait, 3) straight to the trash can. Stack 2 will grow over time. Plan certain time intervals to go through it, and when you do, play some good music. If you have some sort of filing system set up ahead of time (like Receipts, Manuals, Cards you want to keep, etc) it helps a lot.
0 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 4:04PM
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houssaon
I hate paper, too. So much so, I feel like a paper hoarder, I can't seem to let go of it.
0 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 4:08PM
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janeinfo
We moved our paper shredder from upstairs to close to the door. When we bring in the mail, all junk mail is immediately trashed and as soon as bills are paid, they are shredded. No more day-long shredding activities from not doing it all year long!!!! :)
2 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 4:11PM
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wyndyacre
I always hated having a metal filing cabinet visable in my living room beside the desk for storing household paperwork and reams of maps and travel info for my motorcycling, hiking and kayaking trips.
So when I was finally able to, I visualized two matching bookcases with built in filing drawers on the bottom and had them custom built. The big drawers have more than enough filing space and the smaller drawers hold office supplies and package wrapping supplies. The style of them compliment my schoolhouse home and many visitors think they are original to the building.
Blackmore Woodcrafts did a fantastic job of building them and making my idea come to life! http://www.houzz.com/pro/blackmorewoodcraft/blackmore-woodcraft#!ideabooks-expanded
9 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 4:24PM
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PRO
Elizabeth Bolton - ReMax Destiny
I love paper and used to be an archivist before I became a real estate agent. But paper gets the best of me and there are piles all over (I'm a piler though I'd like to be a filer and have multiple [ugly] file cabinets).

One big part of it is the newspapers and I've got big piles of unread newspapers. Years ago my brother used his key to my apartment and strung a blow-up of a Robotman cartoon across my living room. It featured Monty cracking open boxes of unread newspapers the movers had just carted into his new place. And yes - I have moved unread newspapers though lately I've become a bit more ruthless in anticipation of recycling pickup.

PS - I really like the office photo at the top of the page. Those on-the-wall files are a stylish and organized option for pilers who like to *see* their paper.
0 Likes   Thanked by Emily Hurley    April 7, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Sigrid
You need to sort as it comes in. I have an accordion folder sorted by month for receipts. I put important receipts (ie ones that I might want to keep for a warranty) in December and file everything else by month. Then, if I need a receipt for short term stuff, I can find it easily. At the end of the year, I can throw everything away and keep the important receipts.

You need to do the same for school stuff. What's important for this month (what they need for the upcoming field trip) versus what's important all year long (teacher's e-mail address). Start a new folder for the short term stuff every month and throw out the stuff in the folder from 2 months ago. If you sort well, you don't have to even look when you pitch it out.

If you have trouble sorting and consigning stuff to a short term folder, you'll still have paper piling up, but the quantity will be much lower. You need a filing system for the stuff you keep, but this is a way to reduce the amount of short-term papers adding to your pile of long-term papers and turning the documents you want to save into needles in your haystack of things like forgotten permission slips for last year's school play.
1 Like   April 7, 2014 at 11:54PM
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PRO
Studio M Interior Design
Our firm bought a few old filing cabinets from Craigslist and used leftover wallpaper to recover them, now we have a stylish storage solution for all of our neverending collections of paper :)
0 Likes   April 8, 2014 at 8:29AM
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feeny
We have six two drawer filing cabinets and one three drawer lateral filing cabinet in our large double home office, and somehow we STILL have papers everywhere!
(Plus we have three four drawer filing cabinets in the basement--it's hopeless)
1 Like   April 8, 2014 at 8:39AM
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edithsmom
Wyndyacre...I love your solution...very smart. I also remember the room from your dilemma concerning matting/framing your bird prints. Very nice.
1 Like   April 11, 2014 at 7:21PM
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Deanna McLaughlin
We made this from an Ana white template.
6 Likes   April 11, 2014 at 7:49PM
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cpweirsf
Well, if you looked at my filing system, you'd realize I don't have the answer. But I do have a suggestion. I have controlled the inflow of paper by aggressively removing our household from mailing lists. I call, email, write to every organization I can. It takes time but has definitely produced results. Some days I get only one first class letter. However, I'm still challenged by organizing the things that do come in. Sometimes time is my friend. If it hangs around long enough, it outdates and becomes easy to throw away.
1 Like   April 17, 2014 at 10:02AM
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tw123456
Maybe someone has already suggested this, how about getting a scanner to scan to papers that you need to keep, either keep record of them in the scanner, or on a disk, then write what is on the disk on the disk its self. Go through old receipts, and throw them out. There is no time nor need for all the free papers and magazines we get, since we have the internet to find whatever we want. I look at them briefly, and a couple of days or so later I throw them out, if I had no interest or time to look at them up again. You can also scan childrens' art and keep it on a disk and refer to it anytime you want, (ooops ;0(!, which reminds me, I think I need to get the little scanner out, because I have some scanning of the little ones to do.)
0 Likes   April 17, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Melanie Aidone
I have the same problem. It seems like so many papers are too important to throw away, but I end up with piles all over my house. I'm appreciate all the feedback, as this issue is really not addressed in my decorating magazines, which are in piles around the house too.
0 Likes   April 26, 2014 at 10:06PM
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ced653
My paper organisation isn't perfect, but it works for me, all i have is an A4 size shallow box on top of the freezer in the kitchen to put any papers that arrive in the house unsorted. Usually I go through the mail daily and look at what I want to and then throw the adverts out, bills and other papers go in the box. At the end of the month I go through the box and pay all the bills for the month and file what needs kept in our household ring binders, receipts go in a plastic wallet, and usually a few papers get kept in the box, it's like a no-mans-land for paper!! If it gets too full during the month I edit it a bit, and that's it. I agonised about what to do with it all after we moved and my habits were out of sync and looked all over houzz for paper sorters, wall mounted boards and any ideas, but in the end what works for me is a box. Simple.
0 Likes   April 26, 2014 at 11:47PM
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hgtvfan
I am a financial planner and registered investment advisor, so I have many trade journals. What I have found that helps is to go through the magazines and tearing out just the articles that I care about and then I recycle all of the rest. I bought that neat scan for the purpose of scanning in these articles so that later on I don't even have to keep them. I am constantly covered in paper. I bought an A-Z folder and a monthly folder and a daily folder these are accordion style, They seem to help tremendously. All of you had good ideas, but keep them coming because the paper tiger has not been vanquished!
0 Likes   April 27, 2014 at 5:32AM
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Genevieve
Ah yes !
Papers and more papers,I too have that problem ,not easy to control them at all ,I pile them up on the desk until I decide to go trough them and run them trough the shredder once and for all to see a bit of space ,this is a lost battle they keep on coming and I bring them in from one door and out the other for recycling , I got the idea a couple years ago to purchase from the Dollar store clear envelopes with an elastic and store all the the paid bills in there and find this rather helpful if in case i shall need to find one . I was thinking of reorganizing the desk and purchase baskets that would hide all these papers from card stock to envelopes so that I wouldn't have to look at them and feel overcrowded in this very small room , My real problem is trowing out nice magazines like decorating and crafts magazines for example ,yet I know that I cannot hold on to them for much longer , Here is an idea that I like and will consider for my desk top ,the bins/baskets.


1 Like   April 27, 2014 at 6:02AM
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cdamiano
Would you consider a Receipt Scanning? - http://www.neat.com/solutions/neat-solutions/receipt-scanning/ I have a paper shredder and shred everything I don't need. I keep the receipts digitally (unless the store requests an original receipt). I keep a recycle centre in the kitchen and get rid of any junk mail immediately. I also scan all artwork and only save a few special original pieces. I have an artwall for the special ones and rotate them out after a year and put them in a plastic filing bin.
3 Likes   April 27, 2014 at 6:20AM
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cdamiano
I also pay the (paper) bills as soon as they come in and then shred them. I pay all bills on-line so I can post date them to the proper date.
0 Likes   April 27, 2014 at 6:22AM
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Jolene
Pick a place for everything. I actually don't keep much. Basic kid work comes home very week. Most of it goes in the recycle bin. Kids choose a piece to display (they don't always have one they love so it all goes in the recycle bin). I have a basket in my closet with Manila envelopes for storing a few pieces every year. Some art gets framed and hung. Most receipts don't get saved once recorded. Bills get paid quickly and go into the shred basket, which is hidden in the desk area ( we shred when full) I still get two drawers that get messy and stuffed that I go through every few weeks. I don't save magazines, catalogs etc. It gets read and passed along to a friend or recycle bin. I also put junk mail in the recycle bin before I walk in the house.
I am naturally organized and really have trouble when there is clutter, however if I can't see it (ie the drawers) I do fine. I tend to stuff the junk.
0 Likes   April 27, 2014 at 6:57AM
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