How to Simplify Paper Clutter In Your Home

We all have them. You know…the papers that come in and go out on a regular basis. Here’s the thing about those papers. Whether you have 5 or 50, they are mental clutter. You need to deal with all this to simplify paper clutter.

Simplify paper clutter with these simple tips! these will help you have an organized and simple way to get your paper under control and easy to see.

Yes, they are physical clutter, but they are also mental clutter. The kitchen counter papers are: waiting for the action to be paid, filed, replied to or read. Every time you see that pile, your stress level goes up a little.

Simplify paper clutter using a kitchen counter filing system to help me with my physical and mental paper piles.

When I organize, I use a system that has between 7-12 files and no 2 systems are the same. Most systems that helped to simplify paper clutter have files for: bills, coupons, kids, tax receipts and medical. These files are ACTIVE. They change often. Right now I have a file for Christmas and our son’s high school search.  A kitchen counter filing system is in your line of vision, but organized.


Take a horizontal pile and making it an organized vertical pile. 

There is a small learning curve here. I like piles because I can SEE what I need to do. So I had to train myself to LOOK in EACH file every Sunday night.  It doesn’t matter what day you choose, but you need a standard day that you look into each file and make sure you aren’t missing something.

I cannot tell you how freeing it was to have a set place to put all the coupons and circulars for saving money. I try to use coupons, but some weeks I don’t shop at all. Just last night, I went through 4 weeks’ worth of coupon inserts and emptied out my whole coupon file.

The same is true with bills. I do not stress when I get a bill on my door from the lawn treatment guy or a random medical bill. They all go in the bill paying file and I pay all the bills on the day my husband gets paid.

Staring at the bills on the counter doesn’t get them paid faster.

Knowing where my coupons are if the need to shop arises and being able to touch a bill within minutes of needing it are worth the real estate that a small counter filing system takes up.  But wait…there’s more…

Think of a few more BIG categories of papers you have. Maybe they aren’t even papers; maybe they are notes jotted here and there for blog posts or a book you are writing.

Are you on the PTA? Make a PTA folder.

Do you have memorabilia lying around to add to your scrapbooks? Make a memorabilia file.

Simplify paper clutter with these simple tips! these will help you have an organized and simple way to get your paper under control and easy to see.

The rule is 10 files.

No, I’m not coming to your house, but really, you can’t DO more than 10 things at once. In the summer, swap out the PTA file for the kids’ camps file. Your kitchen paper pile will TELL you what files you need.

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  1. Paper–as a now semi retired bookkeeper who has had to deal with reams of paper for many years–I am great at making PILES–You are so correct and now that I only have to worry about my papers maybe I should start a filing system–my dining room table–well I’d love to actually see it!!

  2. My Journey With Candida says:

    I despise clutter and have a husband who does nothing but clutter. I have had to learn to live with a little more clutter than I would like . Great tips!

  3. kay adeola says:

    Hmmm great idea i have so much paperwork it drives me crazy and i have boxes full which i keep till its time to have a bonfire lol.i have 3 places filling cabinet for dealt with but gotta keep 1 box for gotta sort out and the other for fire 🙂

  4. Jutta@HungryLittleGirl says:

    I am a control freak, so there is never a paper stash at my house. I instantly sort out and organize all my papers as soon as I receive them. Must be the German in me 🙂

    1. I wish I had that problem! I have to be very aware of keeping it organized.

    2. Organize 365 says:


      I have some German in me, but it must not be enough!


  5. You have no idea how much I needed this post right now! We are packing to move in just a few weeks, and here I am surrounded by a big stack of papers. Several stacks, actually…

    1. Organize 365 says:

      So glad the timing was good! Good luck with your move!

  6. Kate, aka guavalicious says:

    I love the idea of ten files. I haven’t heard that idea before. I need to add some more file folders to my stack! Where do you keep yours?

  7. Amber Edwards says:

    These are fantastic tips! Especially limiting to just 10 files so you don’t overwhelm yourself. A great way to organize and stay on top of things.

  8. This is a wake-up call that is much needed for me! My husband and I have a huge stack of random papers in our living room, and I avoid it by just pretending it’s not there. Healthy, right? 😉 I’m going to go out and buy a filing system this week so I can finally add some organization to our lives; thanks for reminding me that it needs to be done.

    1. Organize 365 says:

      You can do it Casey!

  9. Growing Up Madison says:

    Great tips. I have stacks of papers all over but mostly in a binder. I would love to get a file system. Would make it so much easier to find things as well.

    1. Organize 365 says:

      I actually LOVE binders. I need to see my papers so I do have about 10 binders. But I agree those can get just as much out of hand as files can. I guess in all cases. Less is More.

  10. I have tubs full of paperwork. I have often thought about using a digital scanner, but I think it would freak me out. I like organizing them!

  11. Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom says:

    I love your ideas… and I hate Clutter.. yet the darn mail always accumulates and paper show up everywhere.. SOO need to make a box for it all and clean it out every so often..thanks for sharing

  12. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy says:

    UGH, I hate paperwork. I have seen those scanners that you can just run your receipts even from your credit cards through to have a digital copy. But I often wondered how much memory would I need on my computer to transition into digital….. Then I just get overwhelmed and deal with the papers!! I do throw a lot of it away when I am done even though I get my hand slapped by my accountant every year that I don’t keep all my receipts and copies of every single bill for 7 years. Who has that kind of space??

  13. This is a good idea about the files. I tame my mail clutter by disposing of whatever can be trashed automatically and then placing all bills in a bill basket.

  14. Anita Breeze says:

    You would think that as a trained bookkeeper I would not have piles of paper everywhere, but it’s true. I cannot seem to get on top of it. And I do have more than 10 things on the go, that is part of the problem I think! It’s an ongoing problem!

  15. I am pretty organized also. I have folders for each year and I file my papers away in the folders and I write on the cover of the folders what I have put inside along with dates. I also bought a desk with cubby type holes and everyone in our family has their own little cubby for their important paperwork that they may need. Once they are done with it, it gets filed away.

  16. Tough Cookie Mommy says:

    I personally hate paper clutter. One of the biggest problems that we have is getting junk mail and it constantly piles up until I have the time during the week to sift through it and get rid of whatever is not important. These are some great tips for simplifying and decluttering.

  17. katherine bartlett says:

    Great tips. I have paper everywhere in my house.

  18. Courtney Pies says:

    Paper clutter is most definitely a big problem for me. Especially after my mom passed away unexpectedly in May and going through all of the things she never threw away. I love the kitchen counter system – I think I’ll have to do that for our paper clutter! Thanks, Lisa! 🙂

  19. Paper clutter is a huge issue in our home. I needed this post, I’m definitely going to try the files. Great post! I will beat this paper clutter yet!

  20. Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade says:

    I can not deal with clutter however my office always seems to have piles of papers that need filing. so that room has clutter. I’m pretty good otherwise. My filing method is pile and bulldoze. haha

  21. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says:

    I have a four drawer file cabinet that is crammed with old papers. Clearly I need some revision in my system because I still have stacks and stacks of paperwork that isn’t even in those drawers. I’m a disaster….ten files, huh? Yikes. I’ve got work to do.

  22. Le-an Lai Lacaba says:

    I have major paper clutter with my photocopy of books for my subjects. This just made me want to arrange my things. Good luck with yours!

  23. Linda DeBlois says:

    I need this system to take care of my paper clutter which makes me insane.