Archive for the ‘Organizing Your Paper’ Category

10 Tips To Cure Paper Clutter

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Just like laundry and dirty dishes, paper clutter is one thing you can be sure will always keep collecting in your home. But unlike a full sink or an overflowing hamper, your piles of paper can be much easier to ignore. With a little effort – and consistency – you can keep that paper clutter at bay. Here are our top ten tips on how to do it:

1. Schedule an appointment every week (or every other week) to sort through any papers that have accumulated on your desk, in the kitchen, etc. If you’re keeping up with it, this appointment should take no more than 10-20 minutes at most. Write it on your calendar so you’re sure to keep the date!

2. If you’re starting out with a massive collection of paper clutter, you’ll need more time for your first de-cluttering appointment. Schedule a few hours to sort through files, bins, drawers – basically anywhere that paper has collected – and get rid of anything you don’t need. This means notes you’ve written to yourself, but haven’t looked at in years, crumpled old ATM receipts, and the like. If you find a scrap of paper with an address or some other relevant bit of information, transfer it to a paperless storage option, like your laptop or your smartphone. If you’re unsure where it belongs, you can store and sort the info easily using

3. Control the incoming paper by converting all of your bills to electronic or paperless billing. Many utility providers and credit card companies will even credit you a few bucks toward your bill for choosing a paperless statement option.

4. Create a system to keep paper sorted as you go. Try keeping designated files handy to easily separate your paper into categories: To Do; To Pay; To Read; To File. Then designate a day each week or once a month to empty each file out.

5. Have a safe place for your vital records to be stored and protected. Don’t let your most important papers get tossed in with your To Do lists and other non-essentials. Scan your vital records (birth and marriage certificates, passports, original social security cards, wills, deeds, etc.) into your computer, and then keep the originals in a locked, fire safe box.

6. Trade in your desktop inbox for wall-hanging files. Unlike horizontal stacking files where papers get easily buried, a hanging system keeps things visible and top of mind. Also, it removes the clutter from your desktop, and makes staying on top of your tasks much more simple.

7. Maintain an expense folder for organizing receipts as you go. By filing your receipts weekly, you save yourself countless hours come tax time, and immediately reduce the amount of clutter on your desk, in your drawers and in your wallet. You can sort them by date, expense category, or account… just find a method that makes sense to you, so you’re more likely to stick to it.

8. Mail, catalogues and magazines make up the bulk of the paper that pours into your home on a daily basis. Make sure that unwanted junk mail and circulars get recycled immediately, and take five minutes each week to shred any incoming credit card applications or other financial papers that you don’t need. Keep magazines stacks from becoming unruly by stashing them neatly in a tray or basket. Then thin that basket out each week, when you do your routine paper clutter round up.

9. Click and store! Don’t forget how many uses your smartphone camera really has. Snap a picture of business cards, post-it, or other paper tidbits, and email them to yourself. You can file the email in each appropriate folder within your email client, and then toss that scrap for good.

10. Choose to lose the paper, and get to the bottom of the clutter once and for all. The true reason all that paper is piling up is because you’ve been avoiding tasks, either big or small. Make a decision to stop collecting it, and give yourself a deadline to deal with each task as it comes in. No scrap of paper should be sitting around for more than a week, so get it done, and toss it out!

Please share your ideas in the comments below about how to best manage the paper clutter in your home. Do you have a favorite tip or tool you’ve found to keep the paper under control?

Organizing Experts Recommend Products to Stay Organized

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Blogger Debbie Jordan Kravitz of Virtually Organized is a self described “recovering perfectionist” who writes about simplifying and organizing your life.  We’re virtual colleagues since she lives in York, PA.

Recently, she surveyed her colleagues on Facebook and Twitter asking what products they love to use when organizing with clients and she also asked what we didn’t like.  Everyone who’s worked with me knows I am a huge fan of The Container Store’s elfa®.  So it’s no surprise, that was the product I recommend.  Check out her blog to learn about the other organizing products various industry experts love and hate.   Everything from the basic staple to Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lid food storage containers received props.  You may recall me blogging about the Easy Find Lid containers when I highlighted the products I featured on WUSA9 News.  They’re great for food storage and have a space saving design.

I have to agree with Allison Carter,
of The Professional Organizer who dislikes the toy storage racks that hold 9-12 bins.  These racks for toy storage may look like a good idea, but they are poorly designed.  The bins are too shallow for anything substantial in size, they are hard to take off the rack, the bins fall through the slats, and the bottom two rows are halfway covered by the row above.  Want to know what else was liked or disliked?  Read the whole article here!

Shred Your Papers, Help a Marching Band!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Quince Orchard High School Marching Band will benefit from a free community shred event THIS SATURDAY, September 20thShred-it trucks will be on site from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM to destroy old bills, love letters from your past lives, confidential documents, etc.

Quince Orchard High School is located at Route 28 & Quince Orchard Road, in Gaithersburg, MD.  For more information call (301) 370-0633 or click here to download a flyer.  A box is considered to be bankers box size, which is approximately 10″ x 12″ x 15″.  They’re taking up to 10 boxes per person free of charge.

Don’t forget to make a nice donation for the Marching Band–The Marching Cougars!  As a former band geek, I think supporting the band is a great reason to declutter you filing cabinets.

Thanks to reader James for the heads-up on this event, and thanks to Shred-it and Bill Duff/Realty Executive for their sponsorship.

The band is also having a garage sale that morning, but most of my readership doesn’t need to be garage sale shopping. I’m just saying…

Just for fun, here’s a photo from my marching days.  I couldn’t find any photos from my high school years; my mom must have them all.  This photo is from an Orange Bowl trip I took with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhusker Marching Band.  Guess what year it was taken! Be the first to guess the right year, and win you’ll win a prize!

No comment on the glasses or my big hair!

No comments on my glasses or big hair!

Stop Junk Mail, I Dare You!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Junk mail is a huge waste of time. Don’t you agree? Unwanted mail is often what I see cluttering clients’ counter tops, entryway tables, home offices, and the never ending ‘in box.’

I dare you to follow these steps. I dare you to take a step forward by stopping unwanted mail. Do you accept this dare? If so, here’s how!

Step One

Stop unwanted junk mail by registering

with the Direct Marketing Association’s Preference Service.  Click on “remove my name from those lists.” You have to select each company individually, which can take some time, but in the long run it’s worth the extra effort. A credit card is necessary to confirm your identity, but there will not be a charge.

Step Two

Take a stand to reduce local junk mail through these resources.

  • Valassis Marketing – Call 888-241-6760 between 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EST or complete this online form
  • VAL-PAK Coupons – You need to have a current pack envelope when you remove your name. Complete this online form
  • Call Carol Wright – 800-67-TARGET to get off that list

Step Three

Remove your phone number from the lists those

pesky telemarketers use by completing the Do Not Call Registry online. This list was previously only good for five years, but in February 2008 a new law made it permanent.

Tip to Share with Friends

If you move, do not fill in the USPS change of address cards. I’ve heard over the years that the address changes are sold to companies.  I reviewed the privacy statement and the 62 FAQ’s on the USPS website, but didn’t find anything for or against this belief.  I believe it is true, so stay away!   If it is true, you’ll be right back where you started.

Step Four

Cease bank and credit card offers by contacting the appropriate bank.  Banks and credit providers offer the opportunity to opt out of marketing efforts.  Some banks require a form, others require only a phone call.  Here are a few popular banks in the DC area:

  • Wachovia’s Online Form
  • Bank of America’s Online Form
  • Citibank – Call 888-214-0017 and tell them you’d like to update your privacy choices.
  • Chevy Chase Bank – Call 301-987-BANK or 1-800-987-BANK to update your privacy choices.

Step Five

Fellow organizer Ramona Creel offers additional tips on stopping junk mail in this post.  If you aren’t satisfied with the suggestions above, she offers some unorthodox approaches.

We’re passionate about stopping junk mail.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog by RSS Feed or via email (see upper left corner to enter email address).  We’ll be sharing more helpful information in the near future focusing on companies who will help you get rid of junk mail.

Do you have any other tips for our readers?  Please leave a comment with you ideas.

Opting Out Saves You From Unwanted Credit Offers

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

The volume of credit offers I see cluttering the homes of my clients is unreal! All the paper, postage, gasoline to move those letters, and time to deliver them is such a waste. Needless to say, they usually just go into the trash and fill our landfills.

Take a stand and opt out of these credit and insurance offers! Here are two to choices to help you opt out.

According to the FTC’s website, you can opt out of receiving credit and insurance offers for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently. Call toll-free 1888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit for details. The telephone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies. When you call or visit the website, you’ll be asked to provide certain personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security Number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.

It’s important to remember that if you have joint credit relationships, like a mortgage or a car loan with a spouse or partner, you are likely going to receive further unwanted solicitations until both of you exercise your opt out rights. Typically, the requests to opt out are processed within five days, but it may take up to 60 days before you stop receiving prescreened offers.

If for some reason you want to opt back in, you can simply reverse the process by calling the same phone number listed above. What are you waiting for? Do it now!

Protect Yourself From ID Theft

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

While researching ID Theft Information for a client, I discovered this video the FTC’s website. Watch the video to learn some good information on what to do if your ID has been stolen. Having fallen prey to a phishing email scam a few years ago, that emptied each of my checking and savings accounts, I highly recommend everyone take a few moments to learn more about ID Theft.

Has anyone else had their identity stolen? Leave me a comment and tell me about your experience.

To watch more of the FTC’s Video visit their YouTube homepage.