They say that a messy desk is a sign of genius. Sometimes I question that and other times I just run with it. My desk, of course, is the hubspace of my “home office” corner. I don’t have a dedicated room, yet, but I do have space that I need to make the most of.
And because of that, I have piles of papers scattered around. Now, while I may know what’s in those stacks? It’s kind of unsightly. But, I never know when I need one of those papers.
If this sounds like you, fear not. We can tame paper clutter together and take back our spaces. Or, at the very least, find a more manageable system that still works for us. Trust me on this, you are not alone with this need of better organization as a stay at home mom.
My paper clutter: confessions of a work at home mom with undiagnosed ADHD
I was reading once, that for adults with ADHD, they are often drowning in a sea of paper. Whether that’s school papers, bills (so guilty), newspaper, magazines, etc. The list never ends and the paper stacks don’t end either.
For me? I like to print out my PDF copies of worksheets and eBooks. That results in quite a bit of random stacks of stuff. And yes, I have done decluttering. I have tried to declutter monthly.
Sometimes it works out great.
Other times? Not so much.
It wasn’t until I realized that hey- this is part of how my brain is wired. In so many other aspects and areas of my life, my brain works against me. So, I have to find strategies that work with my brain. I am reluctant to share photos of my mess because it’s just that. A mess.
I call it organized chaos, but let’s call it what it is. A cluttered mess.
How to Tame Paper Clutter in 6 Easy Steps
First, take a deep breath. You can do this. It might take time, but once you are in this habit? It will become routine.
Step one: Give yourself a pep talk. If you are still convinced that you’re just messy and that you’ll never solve the issue? You may as well give up right now. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my worst enemy is the one between my ears.
So that means, for me, having to give myself positive self talk.
Step two: Create a filing system. Start simple and then expand from there. I know the temptation is great to just go for the gusto. But, that also tends to lead to overwhelm. And then? We all know what happens. We simply won’t follow through. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with getting filing cabinets or shelves, but start small.
Step three: Get your hands into those piles! It won’t do you any good if you just stack your papers. You need to do something about them. Put them away and organize them. For me? It means having binders of papers.
Step four: Keep moving the piles. Take them one at a time. And if they don’t go into your binders, move them into folders. Whatever the case may be, you want all of those papers to have a home. It doesn’t absolutely have to be out-of-sight completely, but as long as you know where it is.
Step five: Throw things away. Yes, I know- this one is probably one of the more difficult things to do. But, if you cannot make a home for it in a binder or a folder (not some random drawer!), then it may be time to consider throwing it away. Or, you know, doing the more environmentally friendly thing and reclining.
Step six: Once you have gotten into this system, you need to make it a habit. Go through your papers monthly, if you need to. Or more often. I try to file my papers by the end of the day.
Taming Your Paper Clutter: Conclusion
If you like to skip to the end? Here’s the main thing to keep in mind: find a system that works. Stick with the system. Tame the paper clutter once and for all. Take back your space.