Organizing Paperwork

I can't seem to stop papers from piling up on our kitchen bar.  Or the table, for that matter.  Phee's artwork, papers from school, mail I need to deal with, magazines I haven't had time to read yet- it never ends.  I hate it, but overlook it in order to get on with my day and play with Phee.

A while ago, Doug suggested an idea for organizing and collecting some of the paperwork.  He read about this somewhere and mentioned it to me so there's no original link to share. 

The door to our garage is in the kitchen.  Easily accessible, right by the bar where I go through mail, I use it every day- it's the perfect spot to hang envelopes for organizing papers.  The garage door is unused space, too, so this is a winning project all around.

You need large manila mailing envelopes, packing tape, a hole punch, and hooks.  Chances are, you have some combination of those things laying around the house right now.

  • Fold the flap of the envelope into the envelope and tape it down.  You could also just stick it down using the lick-and-stick glue that's on the flap, too, but I find that taping it down prevents papers from sticking to or tearing the flap when you pull things back out.

  • Label your envelopes.  Labeling can be as simple as handwriting or as involved as printed text and pretty scrapbook paper.  Our labels are shred, file, bills and receipts.  You might have more medical paperwork or things your kids need to take to school.  Pick labels that work for you.

  • Use the hole punch to punch a hole in the middle of the folded over flap, about half an inch down from the top.

  • Hang your hooks on the garage side of the door (or the inside of whatever door you're using).  

  • Hang up those pretty envelopes and get organized!

The advantage of this organization project? The materials are cheap and can be recycled if they get worn or torn.  When you need new envelopes, or need to add a category, it takes five minutes.  Easy-peasy.  You'll have those piles of paperwork cleared up in no time!
{click for a copy of these labels I made for my envelopes}
How do you keep your paper clutter at bay? 

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