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I am an organizing blogger.
If you haven't visited Giftie Etcetera before, I write about day planners, parenting, and keeping life in order.
So the real, live pile of papers in this picture?
Reality, dear readers.
Reality happens, and when it does, I blog about it.
I figure if I put my shameful piles out there, my Loyal Readers will know that perfection doesn't actually exist! My shame is your gain.
Even if perfection isn't possible, you can avoid this situation. The biggest problems causing paper pile-ups are actually easy to solve!
Problem: KEEPING TRASH
Solution: Toss papers that you won't ever use into the trash immediately.
Put a trash can (this one is really cool for neat freaks) near the locations where you sort incoming mail, in your office near your in-box, and where you go through your kids' school bags.
Coupons? If you don't have a system in place for using them, trash them.
Advertisements? Solicitations? Toss them.
Magazines that you'll never read? Toss them.
Problem: NO PLACE TO WRITE IT DOWN
Solution: Get a planner or set up a calendar program for planning.
When I was a little girl, my mom put every single wedding, shower, or birthday invitation on our fridge. You could not open the fridge without papers flying all over the place.
(I just considered that my mom still does this. But I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog. And if she does, "hi, Mom!")
If you have a planner, you could just write down the date, time, address, and any prep (like buying and wrapping the gift).
Then, toss the paper.
The planner can be top of line (like this Kate Spade or this Filofax) or cheap but beautiful and effective (like this one - one of my favorites).
As long as you have a place to capture the information, you can toss the paper with no worries.
Problem: THE PAPER IS FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Solution: Give everyone in the house an in-box.
My husband has a basket for his mail.
But my secret for the kids is really special.
I put their stuff on their seat in the kitchen.
That way, they have to deal with their letter from Grandma or their Lego magazine themselves, before they can sit at the kitchen table to do homework or eat.
But since it's on the seat, and not on the table, I don't have to see it!
Problem: THE PAPER NEEDS TO BE KEPT.
Solution: Have a great filing system.
I teach about my filing system here and here.
Be very careful to only keep what you must.
TIP: If in doubt, snap a picture of it with your phone before tossing.
That's it. Manage paper without all that stress. Avoid piles like mine. Appear effortlessly organized (even if we all secretly know that you aren't).
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