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Do You Have Too Much Paper Clutter?

too-much-paper

In this digital age it‘s still surprising to see just how much paper is generated. Bills, newspapers, documents and of course those endless flyers and marketing cards.

With the holidays just around the corner you can bet there will be an increased amount of paper being deposited on your doorstep, mailbox and brought into your home by others.

So how do you deal with all this paper clutter?

Junk mail

Our mail is delivered to one of those super boxes. Every time I pick up the mail there is more junk mail, by far, than there is actual mail. I think real estate agent postcards are on the rise in most areas.

As soon as you get home separate your mail into a pile you need to look at and a pile that goes straight to the recycle bin.

Coupons and flyers

There is nothing wrong with saving some of those coupons and flyers that you receive as long as they are used as a reminder for you and you actually intend and have a plan to make contact with those that own the flyers. Many have expiry dates so check them often and toss the expired ones into the recycle bin.

Receipts

I know many people keep their receipts, and for good reason. But I see a lot of clients who keep almost all of their receipts of every possible type for whatever reason.

coupon-electronic

If you do keep your receipts make sure they are kept for tax reasons only. Otherwise discard them after you have compared them to your bank statement or credit card statement. Shredding them is best. And don’t forget, you can scan your receipts so you have an electronic record of the really important ones (for warranty purposes or otherwise). Less receipt clutter = less mind clutter.

Family systems

With many adult children still living at home it is a good idea to have one central filing system and assign a drawer to each household member. I know from experience that adult children seem to keep their paperwork in one place – all over their room!

Filing systems

Decide on a filing system that works for you. Most of you will file strictly alphabetically according to name. Sometimes we like to use subsections like “Banking”, “Utilities” , “Leisure”, “Investments” and then file alphabetically within these groups.

filing

That way all similar types of expenses are together. Still others will develop a colour-coded system. Find what works best for you.

Paper was supposed to have been reduced a great deal since the advent of computers but it seems to be on the rise. Don’t get caught drowning in paper clutter. We have assisted a lot of clients with their paper jungles and we can do the same for you.

Gift Wrapping Centre & Craft Storage Organization

So many of my clients request a wrapping centre and craft storage that I thought this would be a good opportunity to share what we did to organize one of our client’s storage rooms. With limited space, wrapping paper and craft products are often relegated to a closet making it difficult for clients to access and find what they need for wrapping or creative ventures.  This client in particular originally had quite a bit of craft and scrap booking products, as well as a large amount of gift wrapping and party items which needed to be contained and stored for easy access and return.  Budget played a major role in this re-organization and we were able to utilize the client’s existing storage units which is always a bonus.

It was essential that the storage was contained within a closet in the finished basement.  Hereare a couple of photos of the closet before we started the project.

Storage area Before OrganizingStorage area Before Organizing

As you can see, there was little organization and the closet was in a state of chaos.  Although the closet went quite deep under the stairwell, there was no access without moving everything out and then back again.  This system (or lack thereof) was not working.  After first sorting and editing the items we were able to see exactly what the client had to store in terms of volume.  With input from our client we were able to create a vision and solution that was workable for the way our client functioned within the space.  She specifically requested that her gift bags were hanging so she could quickly view and pick the right one for the right occasion.  Here is a photo of the closet after our re-organization. The gift wrapping centre storage unit is on the left and the scrapbooking storage unit is on the right. The second photo shows another angle so you can see how access to under the stairs is now possible.

Storage Area After OrganizingStorage Area After Organizing

Finding space can be challenging but with a little creativity, a vision and the right process of organization a workable system can be created and maintained.  Our client can now easily open these drawers, locate what is needed and return items with ease.  Don’t forget to label your drawers so that others in your household can also easily use the new system too!

Principles of Storage

Often times we end up storing items in the most inefficient and non-functional places.  For instance, I have a client who stores her baking items in the pantry on the very top shelf where it is not only difficult for her 5 foot frame to reach, but also problematic as she is elderly and arthritic.  Another client cannot bear to get rid of paperwork “just in case”.  These two scenarios create obstacles to organized living.

So here’s a few basic principles for storage of a variety of items in your home.

Items that are used most often should be stored within easy reach. Items used infrequently should be stored below the waist.  Items seldom used and that are lightweight only, should be stored above the head. Do not store anything heavy above your head as this can lead to serious injury!

For paper, here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you are struggling with whether to keep it or toss it:

  • Are there any tax or legal reasons for keeping this?
  • Can I easily get a copy elsewhere if I need one?
  • Does someone else have the information? Is this available on the Internet?
  • Can I identify a situation in which I would ever refer to this information?
  • Is it still relevant to my life?
  • What are the implications if I don’t have this?

For clothing, ask yourself these questions

  • Is it out of style, wrong size, wrong colour
  • Does it feel good when I wear it?
  • When was the last time it was worn?
  • Do I use it enough to make it worth the cost of storing?
  • Do I have more than 1, and do I need more than 1?

You can also consider adjusting your buying habits.  Before making a purchase, decide what the new item will replace and where it will be stored to avoid duplicating items.  Don’t forget the “one in one out”  rule. Avoid bulk purchases if you are challenged for space. Mega sized items take up mega space. You may be saving money but you are spending vital space as mega purchases take up prime real estate.

I know I’ve also mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.  Ask for gift receipts to avoid storing gift items that don’t suit or fit you, are not your style or you don’t care for.  Most important is to resist storing items for fear of offending the gift giver.  Re-gift new items or hold a swap party. It’s fun, a great reason for friends to get together and you may end up with something else you can really use and enjoy.

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