Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of paper that enters your home? Like many households, the kitchen counter is where much of our paper lands. Whether it be mail for the day, permissions slips from school, the newspaper, or various invitations, it all seems to end up as a pile in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that can be taken to decrease this clutter and allow for more organized horizontal spaces.
1. Throw away junk mail as soon as it arrives. Have a recycle tote or paper bag close to the entrance of your house. Many of us enter through the garage, so this makes it easy. Literally stop and take 30 seconds to discard any junk mail or unwanted catalogs into the recycling before they even enter your home. Not allowing clutter to even enter your home can make a huge difference.
2. Relocate bills to where they are paid. Have a designated area in your home where you pay bills. Take the bills from the mail and immediately place them in this location. Not only will you have them off the counter, they will be conveniently found when the time comes to take care of them. If you pay bills in the kitchen, have a section of a drawer that houses all the necessary items to pay bills such as envelopes, check book, stamps and place your bills with those items. If you pay online, place bills in a specific location near to your computer so they can be checked online.
3. Create an action center. This can be a basket, shallow leather bin or just a designated spot in a drawer. Place items that need attention in the next week into this action center. Ensure you have a consistent time of the week where you go through your action center. This could be Sunday morning when your family is sleeping in or an evening where commitments are lighter. Go through your action center on a weekly basis to ensure RSVP's, item returns, or any other paper needing action is addressed.
I know how overwhelmed families can be from PAPER and it tends to be the #1 item of clutter in many of the homes I visit. Take the 30 - 90 seconds it takes on a daily basis to follow these simple three steps and you will be well on your way to taming that uncontrollable paper.