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Do The Piles Of Paper Have You Down?

Updated on August 28, 2017
Terrielynn1 profile image

Terrie is a creative person who loves DIY on a budget and updating her farm house. She enjoys sharing creative tips, tricks, and knowledge.

Does paper work, filing and purging get you down? Well it doesn't have to be that way. Let's start by tackling the paper drawer and sorting through the mess. There are ways to conquer the worst paper piles you've ever seen. I'll help you sort it all out and show you how to keep it under control. You will be able to keep it from ever getting that bad again. Get started by making signs for your paper piles. Below I will set out the plan that will help you accomplish it all, in less time than you would think. You will also need a paper or plastic bag for any garbage. Once you get started, it will surprise you, how little time it really takes to finish. This entire process can be done in under two hours.

File, purge and recycle your papers.
File, purge and recycle your papers.

Make Signs For Sorting Papers

The signs you make are as follows:

  1. File, will go into a file box.
  2. Recycle, will go to the general recycle place in your area.
  3. Shred, is paper that contains personal info and should be destroyed.
  4. Keep, the items that will be going back in the drawer. Or you will be taking to another room. Make two piles to separate these items.

Extra signs you might want to make:

  • Sell, Items that have value but you don't need it or use it.
  • Donate, take to places that help others
  • Give away, anything you don't want or need.
  • Take to another room, Items that came from other rooms and need to go back.
  • Junk, I use a garbage bag for this category.

Sign Pattern

You can use this pattern to make the signs you need to complete this project and others around the home.
You can use this pattern to make the signs you need to complete this project and others around the home.

Gather All Paper Together

Dump it all  into one pile. Yes, this mess fit into one drawer.
Dump it all into one pile. Yes, this mess fit into one drawer.

How do I Know What Papers to Keep and What to Destroy?

Important Files to Keep:

  • Keep forever, marriage license and divorce papers. Your will and testament. Any stocks bonds and life insurance papers. Birth certificates and death records.
  • Keep for five to seven years, five for forms and government return forms. Donation receipts, to charities and non profit organizations. Keep for seven years for business records.
  • Keep for one year, all receipts for purchases of large items and repair bills for your home. In some cases you can claim gas and travel expenses in the currant tax year. Even some medical expenses can be claimed at the end of the year
  • Keep mortgage papers for as long as you own the home. If you rent and have a lease keep the agreement for a year after you live there. The purpose of keeping is so that you have a record if anything happens after you move out. Keep photos of the home with the lease.

Items to Destroy or Recycle:

  • Any mail that contains an address or personal information.
  • Old expired credit or debit cards.
  • Paper flyers, news papers, ads or brochures. These items are general recycle items. UN-waxed cardboard also goes in this pile.-
  • Mail that has new debit or credit card info on it.

Now that you know how to organize all the papers, start by sorting everything into separate piles. After you do that you are ready to add each pile you sorted out to the sign or area you assigned the paper too. You can accomplish all this in under one hour.

If you don't have a way to destroy important, private papers than take to to a place that does. There are places that provide a shedding service, in most communities.

Keep Items Handy That You Use Everyday. For Example, Pens, Pencils and Note Books

This is the same drawer all the mess came from. Once you are done sorting only put the keep items back here.
This is the same drawer all the mess came from. Once you are done sorting only put the keep items back here.

Did You Know?

That Purging, Sorting And Recycling Paper Was This Easy?

See results

Make Two Piles For Recycle

Divide recycle papers into general or shred and destroy.
Divide recycle papers into general or shred and destroy.

Recycle Magazines, Flyers and News Papers

Now that you are done with all the paper excess, lets move on. Gather up all magazines, news papers, mail advertising and flyers. Add all the mail out flyers and adverts to regular recycling. You can take them in to recycle or put them on the curb on your recycle day. If your town or city provides bins than use them for all paper and cardboard items. Those who live out of town will have to get then to a center themselves. Now lets move on to magazines. Does it stay or does it go? Do I need it, Yes or No?

6 Criteria For Sorting Magazines:

  1. Will I read it again?
  2. Can I find it online?
  3. How many do I already have?
  4. Is it part of a series?
  5. Would it just be taking up more space?
  6. Would it be better to donate it?

If keeping the magazines isn't important to you, I suggest donating them. There are places that use magazines for art classes and school research projects. Some clinics and offices with waiting rooms will also take them. Make a call to your local community center, they take them too. Please consider taking magazines to places where they are needed. Butchers twine is an easy way to tie the magazine pile together. It's easy to use and has multiple uses in the home. Tie it like you would ribbon on a present. This makes the perfect handle to carry it with. Load magazines without special effort, just load them when you are already hauling away your recycle load.

Do this, if you aren't ready to let go of the magazines and paper items for creative motivation:

  1. Use a file folder or binder and save the ideas and important creative items.
  2. Limit yourself to a specific number of projects or files at a time.
  3. When you are finished save them to your computer, This will greatly reduce the amount of paper you keep. A lot of printers are now scanners, get yours here. You can scan paper and file it on your computer and use at any time later.
  4. Binders work great for separating different projects. Don't forget to label so you know whats in each.
  5. Remember to sort and add every time you have more, Don't let it pile up again.
  6. So keep it easy and sort, separate and file or categorize right away and it makes life a lot easier.

I love the convenience of my HP printer and I am sure you will love it too. It makes saving to a computer by scanning a lot easier and no more paper, woo hoo.

Keep Magazines Out of Site

Magazine holders. There is even a place to label what is inside. I love the clean, neat look of them.
Magazine holders. There is even a place to label what is inside. I love the clean, neat look of them.

Go Paperless and Get Rid of Paper Forever

You can make life easier by stopping the extra paper from coming into your home. Here are some ideas to help you do just that.

  1. Ask to have flyers kept out of your mail.
  2. Go online and look for flyer apps, most stores have flyers online now.
  3. Stop your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and receive them online.
  4. On a day when you have more time, sort and recycle the rest of your magazines. Yes, I know there is more. I've been there done that. I now only have four magazine holders and refuse to add more.
  5. If you have trouble sorting through them, use the 3 for 1 ratio. That means for every three you keep, you get rid of one.

If you prefer to receive the newspaper by mail than just make sure you recycle it. I add ours to the compost. This helps layering and the breakdown of the compost. But that topic is for another day.

For mail that has to comes to the house. Always open right away and sort out the bills. Have a place to put them until paid and file as soon as they are paid. The easiest way to file bills and receipts is by the month. The next year at tax time clean out the whole file and place in a bankers box. Remember to only keep the items that are needed and important.

Get Flyer Apps and Keep Paper Out Forever

Find the group flyers on line:

  1. Flipp
  2. Save
  3. Reebee
  4. Redflagdeals
  5. Flyerify

Stores with online flyers:

  1. Sears
  2. Home Depot
  3. Home Hardware
  4. Shoppers Drugmart
  5. London Drugs
  6. Rexall
  7. Walmart
  8. Target
  9. Red Apple
  10. Pet Smart
  11. Costco
  12. Ikea

Just put these names into your search bar and these stores will come up with thier flyers. On your mobile device or tablet, some have an app.

Additional Items to Recycle

Old books, not in good condition
Books, you don't want
Valuable old books
Paint chips
Coloured paper
Framed pictures
Unused/Duplicate menus
Unwanted wall pictures
Unwanted book series
After going through all these items you are ready to tackle other places in your home. Start by doing a room at a time. Apply the same criteria to work through each room.

Test All Pens and Pencils, Before You Keep Them

Since you finished that paper pile so fast, lets use the extra time to test all pens and pencils before they go in the keep drawer or holder.
Since you finished that paper pile so fast, lets use the extra time to test all pens and pencils before they go in the keep drawer or holder.

No, It's Not an Art Class

This may look silly, but it does serve a purpose. Before you add the pens and pencils to any drawer or holder take the time to test them. There is no point in keeping any that you can't use. There is one exception to this rule. If you have pens or pencils that use a refill then keep them. Don't keep them if you will never buy the refill! Instead of taking up more space, give it to someone who will buy the refill. Whenever you consider whether you should keep something or not, ask yourself if you would rather use the space for something else. It doesn't matter how little or big that item is, the question is the same. You can take this advice and apply it to anything you are organizing, sorting, recycling or purging.

Take A Break You Deserve It

Grab a cup of water, coffee or tea.

Take a breath and look around

Or have a seat and relax.

You have accomplished a lot.

All things paper are done.

Tell yourself, job well done.

The Paper Piles Are Gone

Wow, it's done and I must say a job well done. Those mountains of papers are gone, don't let them come back. I Feel like a weight has been lifted, do you? Now that you have finished purging and sorting paper, you are ready to tackle the rest of the house.

De-clutter Your Home When You Have Chronic Illness

From my house to yours: Clean and clutter free, that's the way to be. A clutter free home leads to a clutter free life. May you live, laugh and love your way through life.

© 2017 Terrie Lynn


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    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi Dream on, thats a really good point. I do know what you mean. I used to almost crave the feeling of paper between my fingers and the physical words on paper. Before I sarted using the computer and storage more. I used a binder to hold my ideas, memories or designs from magazines. I do keep a note book beside my bed when ideas hit and transfer to the computer later. I do , do a lot of different things and writing has changed how I do things and process a lot of my life. you can email me if want more help or want more ideas. thank you, you don't need to drop anything. You can reprioratize some things than others fall into place easier. Maybe this will lead to writing my next hub. Have great weekend my friend. And yes I always seem be trying to do nd be tomuch and sometimes it catches up with me and I can be down for a few days to recover. I learning to take on less and not over do it on my good days.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      2 years ago

      Have you ever wanted too much? I find I don't want things I want ideas. So I can read any newspaper and find in an unrelated story ideas for a new story that I want to write. It is the article that triggers new thoughts that brings me a place where I desire to go. You let me know if you understand or I can try to explain it in a different way. When I pick up a newspaper I get a sense deeper than what the article and print is telling most people. I see the writer at work and I feel the tempo and the beat. I see the words talking to me as if they were all tied together and now you cut the band and they can go wherever they want to go. Reaching for something not done before. Because this takes time and lots of writing. I collect a few too many newspapers or magazines. I try to hold them till I get time and each day builds on the pile. So do I drop the hobby or dream or find a faster way to accomplish the same goals. I thought if I shared the idea with a friend you might have a better and faster approach. I have been doing this for years and it is easy to get stuck in my ways. If I let it go I will give up on what I once started. I think what I have to do is computerize my steps and my journey. I am not sure how to do it or who to ask? Any ideas would be helpful. I am not sure if you would have the time to help?I know you deal with so many different issues at home and maybe being so skilled and talented you could show me how you get a lot done in less time. Thank you for your help in this matter. It is connected with being organized and following instructions. Ideas come random and have no order or form. They are sometimes irrational and off the wall. They can one day be redefined and made into reality with the right guidance and help.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi Ryan, thats good you have already over come a huge challenge for a lot of people. I go paperless when ever we can. I am happy more people are doing the same. thank you and have a great weekend.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 

      2 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      One of the best decisions I did was go paperless with all my banking, cell phone and insurances. I swear, mail use to pile up every month. Now I go paperless as much as I can. My shredder gets less use as well. Most things I get are junk and Netflix movies.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi Dream on, thank you for the idea. That is very good advice. I am going to do that. The less paper the better. Sometimes letting go is difficult. Have a great week.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      2 years ago

      You have offered great advice. All the papers add up quickly. Sometimes you want to keep some papers in hopes to get to them soon. Then it becomes in a few days. Then in the near future. If you keep up to date it is so much easier. I loved to save cards and cute sayings that I see in the papers. Recently I have been scanning them on a memory card so I can have them without the clutter. Most printers are scanners too.You might want to add it as a suggestion for those who like articles, recipes and pictures of interest. Technology helps so much. Years ago you didn't have the resources and the means. Have a great night.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Thank you, Dora. It's always nice to hear from you. I hope it helps others who have trouble with separating all the paper mess and keep it from coming back.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very helpful. A comprehensive guide worth keeping, just in case papers pile up again. Thanks.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      HI Demas. Thank you for the reminder. We have been setting records too. The fan sounds like a good place. I wait till the evening to do these kind of things. I just pictured papers flying everywhere, thank you for that. LOL. I hope it cools down a bit soon.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      My problem right now is the heat. Utah is having its hottest summer on record. 13 days (plus today?) of highs at or over 100 and an average high of over 86.5 F. When it's that hot (and without coolers) the best location is in front of a good fan, and that's not exactly conducive to sorting through paper! Add that to procrastination, the pile grows, and there are places away from the paper piles that have air conditioning. Woohoo!

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi Louise, it sure feels good when its all done. I sat and had a coffee after. Have a great week.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      I've been doing a lot of shredding just lately of old paperwork. I hate having it all cluttered up.


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