It crawls in our mailboxes, out of our children’s backbacks, and colonizes on our kitchen counter.

It’s Paper.

  • Cutting off the supply Line

To reduce Paper Clutter, one means is to cut of the ways in which you receive paper. Begin by cutting off unnecessary catalog deliveries. Usually, a quick call or email to the catalog companies will cut off all deliveries as soon as two months. If credit card offers are the majority of your incoming paper, there are a few options:

Junk Mail is not the only incoming paper into our housome, and it is very unlikely that it is for your household as well. Other incoming sources of paper many include children’s school work, church flyers, coupons, etc. One method to cut out paper into your home is to place a small box (cardboard boxes are cheap and environmentally friendly) and sort through all paper that comes into your home daily or weekly. Typically, my two sons will bring home 10-15 sheets of paper each from school a week. Each Friday, I try to make it a point to go through their weekly paper pile. I keep a select few for mementos and scrapbook items, mail some to grandparents, and use the others as scratch paper.

Eliminate Unnessary Paper Waste

Not to sound a little Environmentally biased, I do think that one way to conquer paper is to cut out unnessary paper waste. I “repurpose” as much paper as possible into my scrapbooking, into making mini notepads, or as collage materials for my local church. Other ways to cut unnessary paper waste include recycling, and using non-paper methods (electronic).

Divide and Conquer what you have

Having reduced the amount of paper that comes into our homes and eliminated unnessary paper waste, the next portion of the Paper Conuest is to Divide and Conquer. Begin by getting a large cardboard box, storage tub, or milk crates and piling all your paper clutter into them. Grab some smaller boxes or even bags. Begin by quick sorting through all of the paper items. This first quick sort is to toss out anything that you are certain beyond all reason is trash. Don’t daly on this one – just sort through it quickly. Secondly, Repile all the paper back into the box/boxes. This is where true organization comes into play. Go through your paper mountain again, this time carefully evaulating each and every item. Ask yourself the following:
        1. Do I HAVE to keep this for Legal/Financial Purposes?
        2. Do I WANT to keep this for personal reasons?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, you place the paper items into a seperate box. Be your own critic here over the necessity of the paper items. When this sorting (The Dividing) is through, it is time to Conquer!

Conquer what you have decided to keep by immediatly taking the time to put it in a designated place (and no ,shoved up underneath your bed is not a good place). File it, place it into binder, mail them to family members – deal with (Conquer) your paper pile. If you do not have the needed tools to deal with it, make a POSTED date by which you will do it and place reminders to yourself everywhere to the point of annoyance.

Things to keep in mind

Try to reduce the amount of paper that comes into your house. Make efforts to recyle and/or reduce paper waste. Sort and Find a Home for the paper that comes into your house. By setting down basic guidlines, you will be able to prevent your home from becoming a permanent rest stop for paper.

Moths destroy. And does anyone really enjoy the thick smell of moth balls, woven into their sweaters?
I’ll disappoint my bug loving readers and say that this isn’t about moths or about moth balls. This is about possessions, physical and emotional. Things fill your sotrehouse, which is your life.

What is in Your storehold?
Litterally, begin with what things are in your life. If you were to die right now, would the people going through them find them useful or would the items become burdens of clutter? We seem to have a problem as humans that we fill our lives with stuff. Poor or rich, city or rural – we buy stuff. Honestly, do we really need or use half of the things we own? We build storage rooms, buy storage containers, build storage buildings – just to put our stuff. Come along side of me, and be honest with your possessions. The more we try to keep often costs us more to keep. Sell it, trade it, donate it – get it out of your life. It is, after all, just stuff.
I understand that many items become like family. Truly emotionally valaubale items deserve a good home within your home – and the rest needs to be put into perspective.
Perspective has been a reoccuring thought with me lately, and I attribut much of that to recent lessons from GOD. All-be-it that I am a simple country hayseed, I myself have become stuff-oriented. I want it to be about relationships – both with GOD and with the people in my life. I know that when I come to the end of my days, I do not what my children burdened with the clutter of my selfishness.
Take inventory of it all.

Excess to Bless
Now that we know what we have in our storehouse and what is really necessary out of all of that junk, we both must decide what to do with the extra stuff. My choice is use my excess to bless. That means that I have chosen to give all of my extra ‘junk’ to help my church or to the local homeless shelter. My ‘junk’ that I am not doing a good job caring for can go and bless far more people.

About those moths
Moths happen because of two things: lack of maintance and lack of prevention. What things we decide to keep must be kept with full commitment to maintain what we have. Since we are human, it makes since that the less we have the easier it would be for us to maintain. Prevention happens by being diligent with what we decide to fill our storehouse with. Whether through thrifty or simple living, we must be thoughtful in all the things we allow to fill our lives. If Aunt Georgina gave you 3 pairs of orange and black socks that you know that you will never wear, don’t allow them to collect dust in your closet. Gifts or purchases, be conciencience in wht you decide to allow to fill your home, your life, your mind.

In the past, I have haphazardly went to the grocery store with a list of must buys (bread, milk), but didn’t take the time to check my inventory. It took throwing out $15 worth of canned goods recently to wake me up to the value of inventory.

If you work and raise a family, it is difficult to find the time to inventory your stock every week. Taking the time to at least organize your cabinets and check the dates of everything will keep you from making unneeded purchases. Why go out and buy crackers, if you have say 3 partially open boxes in your cabinet? Once organized, it will be easy to swing open the cabinets/pantry and see that no, you do not need to buy mac n’ cheese, but you could use some bullion cubes.

Inventory of your supplies also opens a world of possiblities for making your dollars stretch. If money is low and you only have a few cans of this or that, use online recipe sites (such as allrecipes.com) to find unique ways to use what you have.

Expanding your food repetoir is not the only value of inventoring your cupboard. Such inventory may open your eyes to what foods you can make from scratch cheeper than you can buy the prebought stuff. Who really prefers instant mashed potatos to fresh mashed potatos?

 

Most of us know that organizing your home will save you countless hours searching for an item, or how it will save your sanity from the clutter. It can save you money as well.

Paper: By Organizing your paper clutter, you will not lose bills and be forced to pay past-due fees. Paper organization also includes organizing your coupons, keeping up with an employment benefit packet, or not buying another ‘Happy Birthday” card when you already have 50. Sort through your paper, dispense of the unnecessary, and organize what you want to keep. Use an organization method that works for you.

Clothes: Organizing your clothes should be important, whether or not you want to save money. I know people who have so many piles of clothes that they have to go out and buy more just to have something to wear. If you haven’t wore it in a year, get it out of your house!! As for saving money, organizing your clothing will keep you from making unnessary clothing purchases, and allow you to make a few bucks by having a yard sale with the excess. Many areas have consignment stores that buy clothing, and don’t forget to donate some articles to a local homeless shelter or church clothing ministry.

Office Supplies: I don’t think I have to explain how organizing these can keep you from making unneeded purchases. You may also find that there are somethings that you bought that you no longer need or use. I am sure that a local church or school could put those little extras to use.

Your time: I am a reluctant scheduler myself, but I have learned the great value of organizing my time. By planning my week, I can often find ways to combine tasks to save precious (and expensive) gas, and accomplish more in a short amount of time. Scheduling does not have to be a minute-by-minute thing, and must always include room for the unexpected. Scheduling does mean being more disciplined and structured. However, discipline and structure are required in most major lifestyle changes. If you want to get yourself out of debt, it will require disclipline and structure.

Here are a few blogs on the same subject:

WISEBREAD: Zen Spring Cleaning (and making a little cash off it too)
MOOLANOMY: Throw away junks, Organize, and save Money

Since I have been making an effort to conquer my clutter, I decided it was well past time to begin to conquer a major area of clutter: photos. I went through my home, gathering up every photo album and homeless photos, as well as a box full of photos that I have been meaning to sort through. When I finished my rounup and had them piled into my favorite chairs, I found that I had 8 photo albums full, not counting the homeless photos or the ones saved digitally on my pc. Wow. That is well over 800 photos. I have been complaining about not haivng photos for the beautiful scrapbook layouts that I have created, when in reality I have enough photos to fill every scrapbook in a department store!!

It was obvious it was time for this to be dealt with. Since I am on this conquest to eliminate photo clutter, I wanted to share what I hope will be some helpful advice in how to conquer your photo clutter.

(1) Corral all albums and homeless photos into one central location.

(2) Create two sort piles: LOVE and OTHER. Use boxes, plastic containers or whatever you have lying around. Pull that big rectangle food storage container out of the top of the cabinet – it won’t hurt to use it for this for a little while.

(3) SORT with Honesty. Put duplicate, blury or plain bad photos into the OTHER piles. Put all photos that you truly love into the LOVE pile. Break the sorting up by going through a small stack at a time (such as during commercial breaks). If the process seems to emotional or overwhelming, recruit a friend or family member that will help you to sort through it with honesty.

(4) RESORT. Go through the LOVE pile this time with brutal honesty. Are there some of the photos that should be in your child’s baby book or would be a wonderful addition to a scrapbook page? Is so, place those in the OTHER pile. Don’t keep a photo that you do not honestly want to look at regularly. Ask yourself why are you keeping that particular photo. If you are just keeping it to keep it, it is time to let it go.

(5) Make decisions about the OTHER pile. Bad photos can be trashed or even donated to a local school or church for crafts. Photos that belong in scrapbooks/baby books/Other special books need to be placed into an envelop and labeled clearly, and dated with an estimated ‘due date’ to be dealt with. Duplicate photos can be mailed to grandparents, friends, or given to neighbors. Be sure to set a “due date” to deal with these photos and carry it out, or else you will find yourself with the same clutter problem. 

(6) Put the photos you LOVE into proper homes. Photo boxes make easy storage, and can be easily customized. The Photos you LOVE belong in a place where than can be enjoyed frequently, not stuck in a box under your bed. A walk through the photo frame isle of your local store may spark you to look at your photos in whole new ways (ie, Photo cubes). Whatever method of storage or display that you choose, think wisely as not to create more clutter.