Papers Papers Everywhere!

Do you ever feel like there’s papers papers everywhere? What do you do with all the paper, mail, and school work coming into the house daily? Jessalyn wrote in and especially wanted to know how to deal with all the papers coming home with her kids from school. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with what to keep, where to keep it, or what you would feel safe with (heaven forbid) tossing? What about when you come in from the mailbox? Yay, more paper! It’s never ending. First we’ll tackle the mail.

Controlling Paper Clutter

1st: Deal with papers daily! Not twice a week or weekly. Everyday. What if you don’t have time to do it right now? You’re running to soccer practice, a play performance or you’re trying to get dinner ready. Then you need a file folder labeled “Daily Mail”. Open the mail, put the pieces in the file you need to keep, and then toss, shred or recycle the rest. That way if you need to reference something, at least you know where to find it.

Daily Mail Folder

2nd: Once you have time, after the evening rush, go through the folder and put papers where they belong. I have a folder for every member of the family, and a separate area for bills that need to be paid. I have a basket that sits by my desk for all the files I need to access often. You can use a basket or a table top file holder (just make sure it’s big enough for the files you need to keep there). Remember you need to make it convenient for you, so you’ll use it.

File Folder Basket

3rd: Make files you will use and use the files you make. Some suggested categories are: one for every family member, coupons, to read, to file permanently, to do. When your child brings home their soccer schedule, file that in their personal file. When you receive a birthday invitation or reminder to make a dentist appointment, file that in “to do”. Something catches your eye that you want to read, file that in “to read”. I love the “to read” file. You know how you always seem to be waiting some where? At the doctors office, at the kids school or after sports practices, just grab the file and bring it with you. Ta-Da, time to read.

File Folder Tabs

4th: Use your calendar! Before you file away that birthday invitation, write the date and time on your calendar. You can also give yourself a reminder to buy the gift a few days before the party. Before you file the soccer schedule, write down the days you have treats for the game. My calendar is color coded so I know what’s most important at a glace and what pertains to me or another member of the family. I also write down when bills are due a few days before, so I can pay them online.


5th: Go through your files once a week to weed out old papers and make sure you didn’t miss anything. This should keep your files pretty small and easy to find anything you need to access.

If you keep up on this, dealing with papers should only take a few minutes a day.

Now, school papers. Ugghhhh! Why do they send so much home from the schools, on six different papers, for four different kids? Yesterday I received book swap reminders, parent-teacher conference reminders, monthly calenders, lunch schedules, green ribbon week calender and walk to school day reminders x 3!

1st: This is where I put all the duplicates. In the paper recycling basket. We use these for coloring, doodling, working out math problems, shopping lists, paper airplanes, etc. At least they print them off in different colors so we have some variety. The other basket is for newspaper, flyers and magazines for recycling.

Recycling Baskets

2nd: Back to the calendar to write down the parent-teacher conferences, walk to school day, book swap days, etc. All color coded in different colors for each kid.


3rd: What to do with their school work. Clipboards have been a lifesaver for me and the kids. Nothing has been lost in the last 12 years, since we started using them. What goes on them? Spelling words, math homework, projects being worked on, supply list for projects, book report info, etc. Everything is at their fingertips. If we’re running to dance practice or a soccer game, they can grab their clipboard and bring it with them to work on their homework. Plus they have a hard writing surface. I also put any papers that need to be returned to school or notes to teachers on it, so they can be put in their backpacks in the morning. The clipboards are checked everyday after school, before bed and before school. It only takes a few minutes.


This has been a long post but I hope it will help you manage your daily paper coming in from the mailbox and school a little better. For us striving to be in a paperless society we sure do have a lot of it, don’t we?

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Kathy Jacobson September 9, 2009, 2:09 pm

    I love it! It’s a good system that I might have to use. My biggest clutter area is my stack of papers, so this is a great solution. Thanks! 🙂 Miss you in the ward!

  • diane September 11, 2009, 3:51 pm

    Love the clip board idea….going to the store now to pick some up… son always losing his school papers

  • Jenny September 14, 2009, 11:41 am

    that’s so nifty. I’m gonna have to check this out myself. I could totally use it.

  • Carl September 17, 2009, 8:28 am

    Thanks for the basket and folder idea for controlling stacks of papers! I love it! Can’t wait to put it in use!

  • Pippi21 November 18, 2010, 10:34 am

    How did you make the labels for your folders? I am constantly trying to declutter and organized but I tend to get side-tracked in the process..I swear I have ADD at 68 yrs. old. It is frustrating. I hate to file and it takes time to get organized..I want to be more organized but seems like life gets in my way. Need to learn not to print so much off internet/blogspots/etc. I am able to comprehend it more off of reading a paper in front of me instead of the computer monitor. I know I’ve got more than one copy of certain articles but because they are scattered in many locations, I run out of time merging them all. I am computer challenged on top of all of the above challenges. Why can’t I type what I want with a word processing program and then cut the strips out and use scrapbooking repositional dots to attach to folders? It would work and if I don’t need that folder any longer, I can use it for something else. Does that makes sense?

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