Friday, January 1, 2010

Make Piles of Papers and Magazines Disappear: Steps You Can Take to Conquer Clutter

By Eileen Koff

Reduce Junk Mail
It’s not the mailman’s fault! Stop the junk mail from coming into your home forever. You can fight back. There are many services to help you eliminate junk mail on the internet. Some provide a free service. For example, go to It will only cost you time, recording unwanted catalogue titles and other unwanted mail. Or, for a small fee, you can go and they will take your information and do it for you

Give Your Papers a Home
Many times paper piles accumulate because they have no home. Current papers that come into the home such as bills, upcoming events, information that belongs to someone else and items that need reviewing for decisions are just a few categories for incoming papers.

Desktop File for Action Items
Give those papers a home by using a desktop file system. A desktop file can be purchased at,, or at your favorite office product store. Their main purpose is to keep all action-oriented files in one neat and accessible place so that you aren’t hunting for papers beneath mountains of piles.

For example, if you have five envelopes in your mailbox- two are bills, one is an invitation for a birthday party, one is a school-related item for your daughter and one goes to your husband for review, you can quickly organize them with your desktop system. Set up a file labeled for each related item. The bills will be housed in your bill folder, your up-coming event will be housed in a folder called “Events,” your daughters’ school information will be housed in a folder with her name on it, and any information needing your husband’s attention will be housed in his folder with his name.

Remember, these are NOT resource files, but an action system that is to contain only those things that are action oriented or those things that need your immediate attention. My clients create what I call a “hot” red folder for any action that must be completed within a 24-48 hour period. The key is to remember to use your system everyday. This maintains the inflow and output of your folders, insuring that your items receive daily attention.

Warranties and Instructions

Most of my clients have bulging file cabinets because their warranty and instruction manuals are placed there. I recommend getting a file tote instead. Find a decorative tote in which you can customize the labels. Go room by room and find all the items that have warranty information.
For example, in your den you may have a TV, stereo equipment, DVD and gaming equipment. Label a section in your tote “Den.” File all warranty and instruction information for each product under the specific room, not under what the item is. A filing system works well when information is easily accessible and retrievable.

To learn more on paper management, contact Eileen at


J.A.G. Hanson said...

Great suggestions! Thanks for writing!

Gretchen said...

Wonderful suggestions and so needed by me!! Please pray for me, that I will use these and find others to help me curb my clutter-disease of paper so I can get and STAY organized!!

Lynn said...

try to reduce unwanted catalogs etc that come in the mail. so many things you can view online. save some paper!