2 Clears the Clutter: How to get rid of paper clutter

HOUSTON – Consumer expert Amy Davis has tips to corral that flow of paper that pours into your home everyday from school, your mailbox and work, and keep your home clutter free. 

Clutter busting pros say you should have a tray or a designated spot for incoming mail in your home. Immediately get rid of the stuff you don't need and create a system for saving the rest.  

Think about the types of paperwork you usually want to keep: medical bills, school papers, tax documents and receipts you'll need when you file, paperwork for home repairs, receipts, manuals and warranties, coupons and meal planning.  Create a binder for each of these categories with vinyl pockets where you can put those papers as soon as they come in. Avoid the urge to put all of the papers you want to save in one stack. 

For long term filing, consumer reports says you should organize your records into three different files. Those you save for one year include your ATM, bank deposit and credit card statements.
Another file for records to save for more than a year. In here, you'll keep loan documents until the loan is paid off, titles for any vehicles you own and any investment documents for stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The third file is for your tax documents that you should keep for 7 years. 

You can eliminate paper piles altogether by scanning documents with your phone and storing them in the cloud or on a hard drive.  There are free apps that do this, including Google Drive that comes pre-installed on most Android phones. Just tap the plus button on the lower right-hand corner of your phone and hit scan. 

You can then send the PDF to yourself to store on a personal hard drive or the cloud. 

Here are some other recommended apps that let you scan documents with your smart phone: 



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