Love this post and want to see more like it? Each month through 2012 I will be tackling different topics and creating free printables to go along with the project. View the projects here.
Today I'm going to share some of my favorite paper clutter organizers. Everything I'm going to show you I own and use. Links to items are provided if available.
I have a letter tray right on my desk, which is right by the entry to our apartment. This is where incoming mail gets put (if Chris gets the mail) and any other papers Chris brings home that I need to file (receipts, important documents, etc.). (An office supply store, Target, or Walmart might sell something similar for a cheaper price.)
Suggestion: don't use something too deep to collect papers and mail. If there's a lot of room to fill it up, you most likely will before cleaning it out. This can lead to forgotten about bills and other important things you may get in the mail. I've been there. I used to use a large plastic bin to collect paper and mail. The problem is there was too much room
to fill it and it wasn't see through (like the basket is), so it was just hiding the clutter.
|The Container Store Open-Top File Boxes $4.99-$6.99 (3 sizes available)|
|Target Silver Mesh Tabletop File (unsure of price, only sold in-store)|
|Staples 5-Tab Hanging Folders $16.99|
Magazine files are great for organizing all sorts of things. My favorite ways to use them is for magazines and notebooks. They're cheap to make yourself out of old boxes or can be bought at a reasonable price at Target (most of the time - the silver mesh ones are cheaper than the decorative ones usually). I also use magazine files in my closet to organize books, mailing envelopes, and paper scraps.
|Carolina Pad 8-Pocket Organizational Folder $3.47|
|Carolina Pad Hot Chocolate 26-Pocket Expanding File $14.92|
|The Container Store Accordion Receipt File $6.99|
|bought at Target back in 2005 when I started college|
Accordion files are a great way to sort many documents within the same category. I like that they come in all different sizes, so they can be used in many ways. I use them to organize coupons, receipts, and product manuals. I used to have two for college info - one for me and one for Chris. I still have mine because I need to transfer everything into a binder and get rid of the excess junk that I no longer need.
Suggestion: When using an accordion file, it can be easy to forget what's inside if you're using it as a storage item. Add "clear out ____________ file" to your monthly/seasonal/yearly to-do list so that you don't end up with 5 years worth of documents you don't need. Plus, when you clear it out, it makes more room for new things to come in and will make your file last longer because it won't be busting at the seams.
Binders make organizer paper a lot easier if you need to categorize and access it often. You can use tab dividers to categorize and sort paper. Sheet protectors allow you to keep important documents at hand without punching holes in them. (Some sheet protectors can even be written on with dry erase markers and cleaned off, allowing you to use papers over and over again. This is a great idea for children's activity books. Tear out pages, insert into sheet protectors, put in a 3-ring binder, and allow them to use again and again.)
I have a ton of binders not currently being used. I used them for every course I was taking when I was in school. I'm saving them because when I eventually get a classroom teaching job, I know I'll need them again. Currently I'm using binders to organize my home management worksheets, recipes, and student loan information.
No office to keep your files in? I recently turned our kitchen table (that we don't use to eat at) into my "office". (I'll show you later this week.) I have since taken the open top file out of my Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote, but I wanted to show you how you can use one. It makes not having an actual office so much easier. Read my previous post on my tote here. Any tote bag that will fit a file box would do - as long as it's sturdy enough to not dump everything.
|InPlace System Poly Document Envelopes (3 pack) $5.19|
Bins/baskets/buckets are a great way to corral notebooks and other office supplies, too. I use this bucket I got from HomeGoods to hold my planners, mini notebooks, Kindle, and colorful pens.
Suggestion: Don't use bins/baskets/buckets to just throw things into. Only use them if you're standing things up in them (like in the photo above). This way you can see what's inside and it won't be another clutter-collecting black hole.
|Mead Organizher Magnetic Fridge Filer - available at Target|
|Erin Condren Life Planner $50|
Purse Paper Clutter
Vera Bradley, I love you. The only purses I will buy now are Vera Bradley. They're washable, have so many organizing pockets, and come in all different sizes and styles. Obsessed much? Yes. I have smaller bags than this and larger totes. This is the bag I'm using right now though. My store/restaurant coupon organizer fits perfectly inside with my wallet, rewards card/gift card zip pouch, and cosmetic bag. I used to care about everything matching inside, but now I don't. I really enjoy the variety of colors and patterns.
Mini pouches and cosmetic bags are great for corralling small things such as paper clips, rubber bands, pens/pencils/markers, coupons, receipts, business cards, rewards/gift cards, etc. I obviously have way too many that are not being used. (And that, my friends, is why it's important to keep like items together.) Oops. 13 pouches total -- 5 brand new...hmm. I need to find ways to use these I guess.
Organize Paper Clutter Busting Supplies
Okay, so maybe not the best title for this "section" of the post, because there's really no organization going on here. But point being this: have supplies at hand so that you can take care of things as they come up. I'd make stacks of papers that needed to be hole punched or stapled, thinking I'd do it all at once...right...a month later. Having supplies available will encourage you to use them. They're in plain sight after all. And if they're colorful and fun, you may not mind having them visible.
Longest post ever...sorry about that. It only took me 2 hours to write. lol
Tomorrow I'll share my favorite digital clutter organizers.