1. Letter Tray
I have a letter tray right on my desk, which is right at the entry to my apartment. This is where incoming mail gets put and any other papers that come home that I need to file (receipts, important documents, etc.).
Suggestion: Don’t use something too deep to collect papers and mail. If there’s a lot of room to fill it up, you most likely will before cleaning it out. This can lead to forgotten about bills and other important things you may get in the mail. I’ve been there. I used to use a large plastic bin to collect paper and mail. The problem is there was too much room to fill it and it wasn’t see through (like the basket is), so it was just hiding the clutter.
2. Open-Top File Box
This open-top file box (medium size) fits perfectly in my Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote. Right now I don’t have it in my tote – it’s sitting on my desk. The plastic file works better in the tote than the mesh one (see below) because it’s not as heavy and is more sturdy.
This mesh desktop file is what I used to create my mail station. Any desktop file will do, but I personally like the mesh one because I have magazine files next to it that match it. Plus, hanging a calendar from the front works a lot better with this type of file rather than the plastic one.
3. Magazine File Holder
Magazine files are great for organizing all sorts of things. My favorite way to use them is for magazines and notebooks. They’re cheap to make yourself out of old boxes or can be bought at a reasonable price. I also use magazine files in my closet to organize books, mailing envelopes, and paper scraps.
I use an 8-pocket folder and lined notebook to organize blog and Etsy related information. I can store both in magazine files when not in use, but they’re easy enough to take wherever I need. I used to write everything down on loose pieces of paper and they ended up all over the place.
5. Expanding File
Expanding files are a great way to sort many documents within the same category. I like that they come in all different sizes, so they can be used in many ways. I use the small expanding files to organize coupons and receipts. The larger letter sized expanding files I use for product manuals, taxes, college information, and more.
Suggestion: When using an expanding file, it can be easy to forget what’s inside if you’re using it as a storage item. Add “clear out ________ file” to your monthly, seasonal, or yearly to-do list so that you don’t end up with 5 years worth of documents you don’t need. Plus, when you clear it out, it makes more room for new things to come in and will make your file last longer because it won’t be busting at the seams.
Binders make organizing paper a lot easier if you need to categorize and access documents often. You can use tab dividers to categorize and sort paper. Sheet protectors allow you to keep important documents at hand without punching holes in them.
Suggestion: Most sheet protectors can even be written on with dry erase markers and cleaned off, allowing you to use papers over and over again. This is a great idea for children’s activity books. Tear out pages, insert into sheet protectors, put in a 3-ring binder, and allow them to use again and again.
Currently, I’m using binders to organize my home management worksheets, recipes, and student loan information.
7. Mobile Office Tote
No office to keep your files in? I recently turned my kitchen table (that I don’t use to eat at) into my “office”. I have since taken the open top file out of my Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote, but I wanted to show you how you can use one. It makes not having an actual office so much easier. Read my previous post on my tote here. Any tote bag that will fit a file box would do – as long as it’s sturdy enough to not dump everything.
8. Document Envelopes
Document envelopes are such great tools to have when dealing with paper clutter. I like to use them when out and about if I’m taking papers with me that I need to stay perfect. For example – resumes, cover letters, important documents for when I was changing my name, etc. They’re flexible since they’re poly, so they don’t get ruined like a paper folder would. And they snap shut, so you won’t loose anything along the way.
9. Buckets, Baskets, & Bins
Buckets, baskets, and bins are a great way to corral notebooks and other office supplies, too. I use this bucket I got from HomeGoods to hold my planners, mini notebooks, Kindle, and colorful pens.
Suggestion: Don’t use buckets, baskets, and bins to just throw things into. Only use them if you’re standing things up in them (like in the photo above). This way you can see what’s inside and it won’t be another clutter-collecting black hole.
10. Refrigerator Door Organizer
My magnetic fridge filer holds my weekly dinner menu, business hours (for local places visited often), and tv show schedule (now that fall shows have started again, I easily forget what’s on when). If I had children, I’m sure I’d have a much better use for this. You could always create your own with sheet protectors.
11. Daily Planner
Having a daily planner is so helpful (and necessary for me). It allows me to keep everything in one place – appointments, special occasions, tasks completed, etc. I used to use post-it notes and would have them all over the place to keep track of things because I didn’t like writing in a planner or I’d always forget. Now that it’s in a convenient place, I use it all of the time. No more wasted post-it notes all over the house.
12. Zipper Pouches
Zipper pouches are great for corralling small things such as paper clips, rubber bands, pens, pencils, markers, coupons, receipts, business cards, rewards cards, gift cards, etc. This helps eliminate the clutter in work bags and purses.
What are your favorite paper clutter organizers?