How to Eliminate 90% of Your Paper Clutter

Previous Button Cropped

This part is a piece of cake because you only have 10% of the paper clutter to deal with, but you gained an extra 90% of space – how’s that for a deal?  

All you need to do is set up a system to keep track of those few papers you do need to keep.  Here are some tips that worked for me.

  • Daily Reference Info – For phone lists, sports schedules, other papers that I really want to keep track of, I tape them up INSIDE my cupboard doors. It’s neater looking than a bulletin board and I don’t have to dig through a pile of papers or a drawer to find them.
  • Bills – I have a special bill drawer and nothing but current bills is allowed to go in this drawer.  We just toss them in there as the bills come in. Then on payday, I just go through and grab them and pay them with my bank’s online bill pay. Even if they aren’t due yet, I can set them up for the following payday.  Then I shred them.
  • Coupons. I will admit it, I’m not a big coupon person.  I do have one of those coupon organizer thingies, but it’s usually pretty empty.  However, I do a TON of online shopping and I have a great technique for managing the flood of Email that comes in after you buy something online. I have Gmail and I set a filter to send then Emails directly into a Shopping folder. Then if I want to shop at a particular store, I go right to the offers for that store.  There are all the latest coupons – super easy!  Bonus – I’m not tempted by a constant flood of attractive offers popping up in my inbox!
  • Actual important papers – genuine important papers like passports, birth certificates, theater tickets, and stuff I do keep in a special file.  But it’s a small file.

One thing I haven’t tried yet, are these cool new scanners that scan receipts and all sorts of stuff.  That sounds like something really handy. Software like OneNote and Evernote are both terrific tools for this.

If you really have a need to keep pay stubs, utility bills, or recipes, you can easily scan them into OneNote or bookmarks the websites where you found them and then search them in your notebooks. Much faster and easier than stacks of magazines.

  • I hope this helps you with your paper challenges!

Photo credit – Image courtesy of ScottChan /


(Visited 1,240 times, 1 visits today)

Pages: 1 2


  1. Wonderful post. Everyone in the world has to deal with paper clutter. Great advice Adrian!

  2. Hi Adrian,
    You were a finalist in contention for most inspirational post in the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party last week. I try to use Evernote and Google Docs.

  3. This is such a great list to start paper decluttering. I have a question though, what about children’s art / drawings/ those papers from school? I kept them for keepsake originally, but it keeps piling up.

    • I’ve seen a few tricks for kids artwork. You can take pictures of them and make them into a photo book. That will take up a lot less room and be remembered a lot longer. A friend of mine who unfortunately lost their son in his 20’s, had made some of his early artwork into laminated placemats. Now, it is a wonderful memory of him for them to share with their friends.

  4. Great tips! I need to do a better job about taming my papers. As it is right now I have a massive pile of papers (well, at least they’re in a bag) that need to be shredded. Minus magazines to my alma maters, I don’t have any magazine subscriptions, though my husband does. I recycle catalogs as soon as I receive them. Stopping by from SITS, thanks for sharing!

  5. Melinda Means says:

    {Melinda} Paper is definitely my worst enemy when it comes to keeping clutter at bay. One of my New Year’s goals is to do a room-by-room declutter throughout my house. Thanks for the tips!

  6. another jennifer says:

    These are really great tips. I’ve been getting a lot better about cutting down on paper. We get most of our bills electronically now and I’ve called to stop delivery of most of our catalogs. It’s always a process!

  7. AwesomelyOZ says:

    Haha that’s awesome – paper clutter is a real condition lol I have a ton of old bills that I’ve kept thinking “ill handle it later.” The Neat Organizer is something I’m considering investing in the future for all the documents and such that I feel would be good to keep just in case, thankfully in such an electronic age the need for paper documentation isn’t as necessary as before. 🙂 Have a great one! -Iva

  8. Sheila Skillingstead says:

    You saved me just in time. I was about to do a three for $12 magazine subscription when I realized I barely have time to read my Time magazine. BTW I quit Time for a year and they asked me back for $15. Couldn’t resist. Been reading it since 1968. I also get Consumer Reports and share the magazines with my daughters. No daily newspaper. It is less than 20 pages and not worth the money. Once a week I get online and read the most popular articles, upcoming local events and at my age the Obituary. Thanks for the blog. Enjoy Sharefest.

  9. NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner says:

    These are AWESOME tips! We have tons of paper coming into the house, especially now that my son is in preschool. I feel like everyday his backpack has either a new note or an art project in it! Happy Sharefest!

  10. Michelle Nahom says:

    Oh, definitely good tips!! I need them! I threw out a ton of paper today, trying to clean up.

  11. says:

    Good post. Paper drives me crazy! I’ve been trying to scan more of it. Then I have less paper and things are pretty easy to find. But the scanning process is time consuming! I scan, re-name and move. It’s almost easier just to save the paper!

  12. ridgely johnson says:

    i had to tell you we are on the same page (couldn’t help it) 😉 Unlike you- I still get the daily paper… weeks go by, and I don’t get it read, but I cannot bring myself to stop it. You’ve got to zip over and read this post- know we’re sisters in paper (i KNOW i have more than you do!)
    Great post, Adrian.

Speak Your Mind