Decluttering and simplifying paper in your command center to stay organized and clean.
Getting Control of the Paper
Last week I wrote about setting up a command center in our new house and pulling inspiration from the command center in our last house. A critical piece of a functioning command center is simplifying the paper.
We all have that one space, right? The place where bills, school papers, gadgets, etc. pile up and congregate. For us it’s our kitchen island – it’s always a clutter magnet. Until I created the command center and got serious about tossing all the unnecessary paper. 😉
Corralling the Paper
To figure out how to organize all the paper, I first made a list of all the things that cluttered my island:
- School papers
- Junk mail
- Outgoing mail
- Medical records and receipts
- School projects and kid art
When I brainstormed ways to organize it all, I came up with three categories:
- To do
Toss , Toss, Toss!
No matter how many amazing ways you attempt to organize a space, if you have too much stuff, it will never feel organized. I spent years buying all the shiny and fun organizational bins at the Container Store and Target, but at the end of the day, it eventually went back to feeling like a cluttered pig sty because I wasn’t tossing enough.
I’m not Marie Kondo so I won’t pretend to be a decluttering expert. (check out her book or watch her on Netflix), but I do know that the majority of the paper that comes into your house should be tossed.
How many times have you put something in the “save” pile only to find it six months later and toss it? They say you touch something five times before you toss it – Don’t fall into that trap! Toss it right away!
Unless it’s really important, then you organize it in your command center.
Simplify Then Organize
Two categories of paper organization: to do and save.
- Bills to pay
- Incoming mail to review (toss unnecessary mail as it comes in)
- School papers to fill out
- Cards to write
- The most treasured school projects and art
- Upcoming event fliers (or just put them on your calendar right away)
- Medical records
Vertical Wall Filing
Using a vertical wall filing system for the paper is best.
Subdivided into five groups:
- “In” folder
- incoming mail to review
- school papers to fill out
- cards to write
- “Out” folder
- outgoing mail
- “To pay”
- the pile of bills to be paid
- School projects and permission slips
- Anything going back to school, activities or sports
- To file
- Medical records
- School projects and kid art (remember, the most treasured)
If you need some organizers, I bought my organizers at Home Goods and Hobby Lobby, but you can also find similar ones on Amazon as well:
- Gray metal wall organizer
- Rae Dunn Wall File Holder
- Metal Wall Organizer (white)
- White Chicken Wire Wall Organizers (3 pack)
- White Metal Mail Organizer
- Gold 2-Tier Letter Tray
- White Wood Letter Tray
This is my interim command center, by the way – I’ve got plans to knock out that cabinet and add a spot for a calendar and backpack hooks.
Don’t forget, always add something pretty. That helps you keep it clean and organized. 🙂
Finally, Keep Up With It
The tricky part, as my husband has complained about, is that when everything is put away and tidy, it can become an “out of sight, out of mind” type situation. You have to be diligent about making a commitment to go through the files and bins on a weekly or biweekly basis to make sure your bill are paid and the “to file” pile isn’t burgeoning. I try to sort through it all on the weekend or Mondays if the weekends are too crazy.
Sidenote: I use file boxes (plastic and linen) to store the kids’ school stuff, with files organized by year.
For more command center inspo, check out Setting Up a Command Center.
If you want to DIY, how to create a simple memo board.
For other organization ideas, how to convert a closet into a crafting or office space.
Happy tossing and organizing those command centers!
*I will receive a small percentage if you purchase any of the links in this post; all opinions are my own.
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