How to Cut Down Paper Clutter
Ever find your office, desk or drawers full of paper? Life is full of paper, mail, receipts, newspapers, catalogs/ads, photos, you name it. The paper clutter piles up quickly at my house! Especially when you have school age children in the house. Every week my kiddo brings home a mountain of worksheets. A small stack comes home almost daily. If you don’t keep on top of things, it can get out of hand!
I used to be the mom/type of person who would save everything. The only exception was junk mail, junk went straight to the shredder. I would save every piece of scrap paper that my kiddo ever scribbled on, every worksheet that came home from school. I would save every bank statement, every receipt. I had drawers and boxes overflowing with paper. All that is different now.
How to cut down paper clutter
Kids School Work
I first had to realize, I couldn’t save everything! There was no way it would all fit! Before I de-cluttered the school papers, I had accumulated two boxes of Preschool work and two boxes of Kindergarten and was about to fill two boxes of First grade…Each of these boxes was about 9″x 11″x 2″ (see image below). They took up a lot of space. Here is how I eliminated paper clutter.
Scan everything! I started with all of the preschool work. I scanned everything into my computer using my printer’s scanner. All the bits of paper with scribbles on them, first letters, coloring pages, everything was scanned! All of my kiddos school work has been scanned into the computer. This is something I have to do weekly or it will become overwhelming. By digitizing everything it takes up no physical space. If you move it from a computer to an external hard drive, you free up computer space too.
Of course, I did have to save some of my absolute favorite things. I saved some of the best homework, artwork or anything my kiddo had hand written. After everything I wanted to keep was scanned, I went through it again and picked out 10-30 sheets of my favorite pieces and stored them in an expandable file box. This way we could look at them later.
I’ve done this with every grade so far, and have minimal paper clutter.
I used to save all my receipts too. Eventually, I shred the old ones. If they were 2+ years old, I shred them. I’ve needed to save some receipts for record purposes, so I scanned those into the computer too. *Save any receipts you might need to make a return to a store!
Today, all of our photos are digital, we rarely print anymore. I had some printed photos that were taking up space. Scan in all of your photos. Why?
1. Frees up space.
2. Makes a digital copy.
3. Less likely for them to be ruined.
Scanning my photos is one of my next projects.
Shred junk mail as soon as it comes into the house. Don’t let it sit for weeks. Take care of it while it is still on your mind.
Trash random scraps of paper. If one is important, scan it.
It takes a bit of time, but you can cut a lot of clutter taking this step.