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Banish paper clutter from your home with these hacks from a Houston organizing expert

cluttered counter
cluttered counter (Pixabay)

Tidying up now that the holiday season has come to a close? Want to head into the next decade with a clean home?

Before you embark on a large-scale, complete-home decluttering campaign you may never finish, consider starting small. Set yourself up for success with a series of easy-to-achieve organizing tasks. Up first, we suggest mounting a campaign against your paper clutter.

Excluding neat freaks (a rare breed), we’re all drowning in paper clutter, an ironic problem in this so-called digital age. From crumpled receipts packed in purses to kitchen counters covered in old takeout menus and unopened bills, paper is everywhere and it builds up fast.

Here’s how expert Nancy Devlin suggests managing your paper clutter:

First, reduce:

  • Recycle what is not necessary quickly
  • Get all financial statements online, as in no paper except IRS documents
  • Set up paperless and auto pay on regular monthly bills
  • Opt out of credit card offers: call 888-567-8688
  • CatalogChoice.org will stop unwanted catalogs

Second, file paper that needs attention in a Command Center daily:

  • Set up a filing system using these labels as an example of current tasks that require action
  • The labels need to make sense to you so you can quickly deal with paper in an organized manner. As you get used to using this method, add or eliminate file names that you use and need.
  • Keep this on your desk or wherever you collect paper.  Have a convenient work space that you will use daily
  • Make it portable so when you have visitors, you can easily move it out of sight
  • Have long term filing in a permanent file drawer or cabinet 
An example of how to file your papers
An example of how to file your papers (Nancy Devlin)

Organizing expert Nancy Devlin owns and runs Efficient Living, a Houston-based organizing service. From file management to full-home decluttering, Devlin has helped her clients transform chaos into order since 2009.