We recently did an informal survey of our readers on what was their biggest organizational challenge. By far, people replied that keeping all of the paper clutter organized was their most challenging issue. With tons of paper coming in the house from mail, kids’ school papers and work, and the receipts that accompany every purchase, is it a wonder that everyone feels as if they are drowning in paper?
Here are a few solutions that can help you get a handle on all of that paper!
The NeatReceipt scanner is just what it sounds like, a scanner. You can use it to scan not only receipts, but also business cards, manuals – anything! What sets this one apart is that, not only is it wireless, but the included Neat software extracts the important information and allows you to search your scans using keywords. It organizes your scans so that you can export your information to Quickbooks, TurboTax or however you like to process it. And you know how those thermal receipts like to fade completely after a year or so? Once they are scanned in, they are there forever. No audit or warranty worries.
2) A Fellowes Shredder
Don’t even let all of that junk mail make it into your house. Recycle it before it comes through the door. Just be cautious of anything that has personal information on it. You want to be sure and shred items with your name and address on them. (Read more about how you can protect yourself from identity theft here.) I love my Fellowes shredder because 1) it takes 12 sheets at a time 2) it doesn’t break down – I’ve had my office shredder for 3 years! and 3) it’s safe enough that I can let my son help me shred without worrying about an injury.
3) Attractive Files and Accessories
The trick to having a filing system that will work for you is having out and accessible where you spend most of your time and where the clutter accumulates. Luckily, there are lots of attractive solutions you won’t mind having out in your home. Start off with some cute files and boxes from See Jane Work
(or pick them up at your local Office Max or Office Depot) and coordinate them with your decor. For things that need to be filed in an actual file cabinet, skip the ugly metal style and choose one that looks like a piece of furniture. I have this Oxford Three Drawer File Cabinet and Console Table
in my home office and love the way it looks while it keeps my essential files handy at my fingertips.
4) A System to Display and Keep Children’s Artwork
This used to be a big issue at our house. I hated having a bunch of papers stuck to the refrigerator, plus they would always fall down and wind up on the floor. We discovered a picture frame that allows us to easily change out what is displayed since it opens from the front. It also gives each piece the special attention it deserves, rather than being clumped with a bunch of other papers on the fridge.
The other issue was the huge pile of papers that Josh wanted to keep. We now have a memory box and he is allowed to keep as much as will fit into the box. He has a box for each year (3rd grade, 4th grade) and if the box fills up before the year is over, he must pare it down until the box can close.