You'd think in the digital era that we wouldn't still be fighting piles of mail, paper, and magazines, but in almost every house we've been in paper clutter is a real beast. It seems to come from all over, schools being the biggest offenders.
So what can you do to keep the counters clear and piles from being, well... piles? Here are a few of our favorite tips:
Move It Once: If you are responsible for checking the mail, one of the things I recommend is to place your mail storage system next to the recycling & trash bin. This enables you to toss anything that you don't need before it finds a cozy spot at the bottom of the drawer. By moving it once, you buy back that time of having to go through the mail repeatedly.
Choose the Hero: Kids make all sorts of amazing things at school, but some things are not necessarily "fridge worthy". What we recommend is designating a place for kids to showcase their best piece of work, the "Hero", and then letting the rest of the items live on in the recycling bin. Each week when the folder gets emptied all over the counters, letting the child have ownership over what they feel most proud of will help them to learn how to purge items that don't need a place in our home. The 'heroes' can be collected in a binder throughout the year as a keep sake to show how much your peanut learned through the year.
Bind it: Do you perpetually make lists, notes, doodles, or write thoughts on papers scattered about your house? I am guilty of sketching on napkins at restaurants and then sneaking them into my purse for further contemplation... To then re-sketch them in my notebook at home. I think the key in these situations is using a bound book for all the random items. My kids used to leave printer paper creations all over the house, but once I removed the printer paper and gave them notebooks to draw and write in, they became journals for them to keep and treasure. It helped them keep track of their creations, and I no longer had to decipher what stick person drawing was precious and which one was trash.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you to find better ways to manage the paper in your home.