One of the key household cleanup goals should be to reduce the amount of paper we collect and print at home.  A lot of paper comes into the house through the mail, newspapers, coupons, through office papers brought home and ‘discarded’ or from school but by far the largest amount is all the stuff we still print at home! Once its’ here it takes on a life of its own… and becomes a royal pain to get rid of.  We keep printing multiple copies and then ‘save’ it to reuse the back for scratch paper or for packing stuff.  So some good places to decrease the clutter is to reduce the amount of paper that is printed or comes into the house.

Here are a few tips:

  • Go through the mail and throw out the junk immediately.
  • Don’t print coupons.  Be smart – use your Smart Phone!
  • Clean all that junk off your fridge.  If something is REALLY important put it there and then get rid of it once you’re done with it.
  • Put all paper bills into a folder and deal with them once a week.  Scan and keep any that you need, shred the rest.
  • Get electronic bills where a paper copy is not needed. For example, utilities bill.
  • Recycle the newspaper every day or better yet, read it online.
  • Recycle a magazine when the new one arrives by passing it on to a friend or give it to your doctor’s office.
  • Edit drafts online and only print when the work is complete.
  • If your kids do print some homework, recycle what’s not turned in or what’s come home and does not need to be saved.  Not every single ‘A’ grade needs to be saved!
  • File any document that needs to be saved shred the rest.
  • Scan and save documents if a paper version is not required.
  • Most cameras are now digital so only print pictures that you want to send to someone or want to put up.
  • Don’t collect a pile of work papers at home.  If you must bring it home take it back as soon as you are done with it or recycle it.
  • White Boards – Invest in one!
    • Use it for family lists, reminders and phone messages
    • Buy a small white calendar white board.  I update mine every couple of weeks and let all the family members scribble their appointments on it!
    • Got small kids? Have them draw on it.  Lots less paper to handle.  Got a real work of art?  Take a picture and make it your screen background.

If doing a lot of these seems overwhelming start by trying out a few of these tricks.  It is such a relief to get your counter space back and make your house a bit less of a fire hazard!