How to Declutter Paper Piles in Your Home

If you struggle with random papers overtaking every space and room in your home, this article on how to declutter paper efficiently and quickly will help you out.

Paper clutter can be stressful, especially if you’re running late or trying your best not to miss appointments or commitments with your kids. That’s why a guide on decluttering and organizing your paper clutter will help with home office organization.

declutter paper

The world we live in today is full of paperwork and schedules.

We are constantly surrounded by paper, from the bills on our coffee table to piles waiting for us at home or work – there’s never any time off.

Imagine how much easier your day would be if all of those papers were neatly arranged in one place. This would be super helpful as you would quickly know where all of your documents are and eliminate another clutter source at the same time.

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So if your goal is clearing paper clutter in your home, we have the perfect decluttering solution to guide you from start to finish.

How can we control paper clutter at home?

The best way to control the paper cutter and keep your papers organized is to have a sorting system. This will help you keep track of any documents that need immediate attention as well as gathering up any papers to be filed or tossed.

If you’re having trouble sorting out your paper piles, give our super simple “bucket approach” to decluttering a try.

To do this, you will need four separate buckets or bins to sort papers into. Grab your sticky notes and marker and label each bucket as: 

  • Junk Mail 
  • Papers to be Shredded
  • Papers to be Filed
  • Papers that Need Attention
man sorting out paper in a box

This “bucket approach” lets you declutter paper using the proper categories quickly and easily.

Let’s talk about each of these buckets in more detail.

Bucket #1: Junk Mail 

Junk mail is a big problem for many people, and since mail comes into our homes daily, this can be a clutter headache. Receiving unwanted advertisements or credit card applications in our mailboxes can quickly take up space in our homes.

advertisement junk mail

Step #1. Identify the Junk

Junk mail includes flyers, coupons, advertisements, and everything that is NOT important.

Step #2. Set it Aside

As you go through any paper piles or your daily mail, set aside any junk pieces.

Step #3. Toss

Immediately toss any junk mail as soon as you identify it. Remember to tear it a few times to eliminate your address on the envelope.

Bucket #2. To Be Shredded Papers

These are the paper documents with your personal information, such as full name, address, bank account number, and other personally identifiable information. 

hand filling out a personal information paper

The best way to handle these paper piles is by shredding them because they can lead to security issues if not dealt with properly.

Consult your accountant first before shredding past-dated tax documents to avoid possible conflicts.

Step #1 Identify the Important

Papers such as bank statements, past-dated tax, and documents with your personal or confidential information should be shredded unless you have a reason to keep these papers filed away.

Step #2. Schedule

If you have quite a few of these papers to sort through, set a scheduled day each week to work on them until you have caught up.

Step #3. Shred

Hand shredding is a great way to safely toss these types of papers but it is also a bit time-consuming. For this reason, you may want to invest in a quality paper shredder that makes the job easier for you. 

Step #4. Maintain

You may want to create a schedule for sorting and shredding these important papers, a good plan may be every week or once a month.

Bucket #3. To be Filed Papers

These are any papers that were once a “to-do” but have already been dealt with or documents to be kept because you may need them again for later. 

tax invoice folder with paid invoice

Step #1. Identify to be Filed

Papers you may want to file away include paid bills, completed taxes for the year, warranties, receipts, paystubs, loan documents, contracts, insurance policies, etc.

Step #2. Check the Dates

Check the year and dates of each paper or document. If you know that it will no longer be useful, or the date is way past, you may toss this paper to the “To Be Shredded” bucket. 

Step #3. File

Keep your files simple and basic as this will allow you to use this system easily going forward.

A few ideas are:

  • Home
  • Utilities
  • Vehicles
  • Loans
  • Investments
  • Family
  • Medical
  • Pets

Bucket #4. Needs Attention 

This is the bucket for papers that require immediate action. This type of paperwork should be flagged with a  “To-Do” banner. 

woman holding utility bill in front of laptop

Step #1. Identify Important Papers

These papers will include any bills that need to be paid, loan documents, credit card statements, mortgage papers, appointment cards, school notices, invitations, etc.

Step #2. Dates

Be sure to check the dates of each paper so you are on time with the action that needs to be completed.

Step #3. Deal or Label

You can either deal with each paper as you find it or attach a sticky note with the next steps. If you are going to deal with a paper later be sure to have a designated bin to hold any important or “high actions” documents.

Step #4. File

Any papers you have completed can now be filed in your filing system or put into the To Be Filed bucket to take care of later.

Step #5. Schedule

Set aside time each week to work on any important papers this will ensure you are never late with a bill or misplace a document again.

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Final Tips for Decluttering Papers

Aside from these buckets, you may add one more for your essential permanent documents, such as family birth certificates, diplomas, property papers, or car titles. 

This bucket will come in handy when an emergency happens where you need to grab your essential documents quickly.

You can set up a bucket for memorabilia. This is a great place to keep letters or birthday cards, ticket stubs from trips and events, and more.

Always remember that decluttering your paperwork can be easier if you have a system that works for you.

You should also try to maintain the process once you’ve started. By doing this, you’ll create a routine that is easy to keep up with. And at the same time avoid papers from piling in your home. I hope you found these tips on how to declutter paper helpful and an easier way to stop the mess from taking over your home again!

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