No matter where or how you live, there’s one type of clutter that plagues nearly everyone: paper clutter. The constant influx is overwhelming. Before you can deal with one pile, another one builds. Here are three ways to get a handle on your ever-growing collection of paper.

 

1. Create a Paper-Sorting Center.

Think about the mail sorting systems you’ve seen at the post office. A paper-sorting center is similar, but customized to the type of mail and paper your household receives. It can be created with magazine files or stacking filers.

Label each file with an action item for the type of paper that typically comes—for instance, “Bills to Pay,” “Magazines to Read” and “Forms to Fill Out.” Be sure to use a verb on each label so you’re prompted to take action.

As far as location, this should be as close as possible to the area where you typically walk in the door. I’ve given up an entire shelf in my kitchen cabinets to create this system. The system’s value has far outweighed the endless piles on the counter—piles that would leave me overwhelmed.

 

2. Pay Bills Online.

Setting up all your bills for online payment will save time and frustration. Be sure to set up payment through your bank so you can pay all your bills from one place, at one time. Going to separate websites to handle payments is too much of a hassle.

An even easier way to stay on top of your bills is to set up automatic payments. Your bills will be paid directly from your bank account every month, so you don’t have to pay as much attention to due dates, which means avoiding unnecessary late fees and stress.

 

3. Use PaperKarma.

PaperKarma is a free app that provides the easiest way to eliminate unwanted mail.

First, collect all of your catalogs and other unwanted mail that you regularly receive. Be honest with this assessment. If you’re getting catalogs that you rarely if ever use, you’re just adding to your clutter. And if you’re worried about wanting to buy something in the future and not having the catalog, you always can find the information online.

Then, download PaperKarma, take pictures of your unwanted mail and press send. You’ll automatically be unsubscribed from catalogs and other mail, and you’ll receive an email confirmation in about 24 hours.

Mridu Parikh is a professional organizer in Nashville, TN.

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Mridu Parikh