Do you have paper piles around your home? Are you paying bills late because you lose them? Is your filing cabinet full of papers you haven’t looked at in years?
You are not alone! Over 40% of Americans claim to have papers filed in a filing cabinet that haven’t looked at in over a year. On average, 23% of adults pay bills late because they lost them. And 80% of Americans say they have at least 1 pile of papers sitting on their desk at all times.
So what can you do to combat the paper? Create storage options for them! Whether you turn your physical papers into digital or store physical papers in places you can find them, these 12 ways to overhaul your paper storage are sure to help tame that paper clutter.
Create A Plan
Very first thing you have to do with any paper clutter you want to store is create a plan. This plan should help you decide what papers to keep, what papers you can shred, and how long you need to keep those papers.
My Foolproof Plan To Paper Clutter is the perfect start to any organizing paper project because it walks you through the entire process, with checklists. And it is all digital!
To help you stop storing physical papers, try turning your paper documents into digital documents!
I use Evernote to help me turn all my physical documents into digital documents because they have an app that can scan the document right from my phone. Then I can store it in my Google Drive.
You can also do the same thing using the notes app in your phone. If you have Apple products, it can easily be found on all devices as well.
Store Digital Documents
When storing digital documents, make sure you file them just as you would physical documents. Create new folders for each type of document. Label the documents with names that are easily searchable. This way if you forget where you stored a file, you can search for its name based on what the document entails.
File Physical Documents
You can’t go paperless on everything. So file your physical documents you have to keep in a way that makes sense. I break all this down in the Foolproof Plan To Paper Clutter. Included in the plan are lists of what physical documents you need to keep and for how long! Plus, I have file folder tabs for specific categories to keep in your filing cabinet.
Another paper storage solution is to create drop zones for papers. To create a drop zone, get a tray or bin. Put all the papers you get throughout the day in the drop zone. Then spend time every day or every week, sorting through the papers in the drop zone.
This helps keep all papers in one location, so you don’t lose anything.
System For Bills
When it comes to storing bills, create a system for payment. One system is to have a spot to collect all bills. Something like a stacking file organizer. On the top, you can keep “bills to pay”. Once you paid that bill, you can move it to the second tier. This can be “bill to clear”. You will keep the bills in that tier until they clear payment. Then you can move the bill to a filing cabinet for “paid bills”. This system works well if you need to physically be reminded of the bills.
Another system is to turn all your bills into electronic bill payment. Create folders in your inbox to store the bill email.
System For Taxes
Taxes are another type of paper we need to create storage. I create a folder on my computer to add all my digital documents into. I also have another physical file to hold all the paper documents. You can use my free checklist to help you stay focused on tax documents.
What To Do With Magazines
If you enjoy reading magazines, I have an idea for how you can keep the magazine piles to a minimum. This strategy worked well for some virtual organizing clients. Each month the magazines are out on the coffee table in the living room or near the bed. Wherever you read them often. When the new magazine comes in the mail, recycle the last month’s magazines. This will keep the magazine clutter to a minimum.
Receipts from things can pile up in your purse, countertops, filing cabinets. To combat the piles, create a system for storing receipts. In your filing cabinet, you can create monthly folders. Store the receipts from that month in that folder. When the new month approaches, go through the receipts from that previous month and only keep the receipts you need. Shred the rest. Repeat this process every month. After a year, you will be back to the first months’ folder. At this time you can shred the documents in the folder as they are likely not necessary to keep after a year.
I love finding recipes to have my husband test for us. I don’t cook, but I love finding recipes to try. So I have created binders with recipes to try. And another binder of staple recipes. After we test a recipe, we decide if we enjoy it or not.
If we do, it gets stored in the staples recipe binder with any notes we need to add to ensure it tastes the best every time. If we hate it or won’t make it again, it gets recycled. This helps us try new recipes while also keeping our staple recipes in one easy-to-find spot.
Store important documents together so you can find them when you need them. Some documents should be kept in a safe or safety deposit box. Other documents can be filed with your filing cabinet documents. Make sure you have digital backup copies of all important documents stored in a secure location as well.
Keeping Paper Clutter To A Minimum
Maintaining paper clutter is the best way to create effective paper storage. I set reminders on my phone in order to remember to go through piles weekly. This helps keep my piles of paper in check. I keep a shredder in my office near my filing cabinet. Making it easy to shred unwanted documents quickly. You can also keep a box next to your filing cabinet to collect paper to shred. Find when your local shredding day is for your town, and write a Post-It note on the box along with a reminder on your phone. Take the box to get shredded on that day.
To create effective paper storage, you need to have a plan. That plan should include ways to go digital, what types of physical documents you should keep, how to store those physical documents, and ways to completely overhaul your filing system. Then go through your paper piles weekly to keep your paper clutter to a minimum.
Some links may contain affiliates.