paper pile

Paper Organizing Tips

From junk mail, bills, and cards, to kid artwork, schoolwork, and other miscellaneous files, paper can be overwhelming. While technology has eased some of the physical load paper brings, it certainly cannot (and I’m not sure ever will) eliminate paper in our lives. So… what to do? 


Here’s a few tips:

  • Treat your paper piles, filing cabinet, desktops just as you would your closet.

    • Purge before organizing. This may sound painful, especially if you have a lot to go through, but it’s so important if you really want to get a handle (and more space in your house!) on your paper.

    • Going though every single piece of paper in your house may be too overwhelming right now, but in the meantime, you want to get control of what’s coming in.

  • Handle the mail every day.

    • Don’t bring the mail in until you can go through it right then.

    • Sort the papers into trash, recycle, and keep.

    • The “keep” category would include anything that requires action — bills, RSVPs — or anything you want to read — cards, newsletters. Put the “keep” mail in one place, preferably some sort of basket, bin, or box (not a pile).

  • Sort through other incoming papers daily into trash, recycle, and keep.

    • The stacks that come home from work or school can add up, so be sure what you’re deciding to not trash or recycle is truly worth keeping.

    • Encourage your kids to help choose which projects or artwork stays, and which ones to let go of.

  • Set one time a week to go through the “keep” bin.

    • Pick a time that makes the most sense for your schedule — Sunday afternoon might work for many, or maybe you have a morning or afternoon that’s typically free of other obligations. It’s all about creating new rhythms and habits to stay on top of the paper beast with a simple system.

  • Questions on how long to keep files?


Yes you can.


Four ways to find success this weekend.

1. The paper pile on your kitchen counter? 

You can sit down this Saturday morning and go through it. Trash, File/Put away, To do. Those are you three categories. Then:

  • Toss the trash
  • File the keepers
  • Put the hammer where it belongs
  • Pay the bills or fill out the forms

2. The bags or boxes of items to be donated? 

You can make one more 15 minute round through the house, add a few more items to the bag, load them in your car Friday morning and drop them off on your way to the grocery store or on your lunch break.

3. The toy room overflowing with unneeded toys that other kids would love? 

You can grab your kiddos on Saturday afternoon, tell them they have a special opportunity to let go of their toys for other kids less fortunate by picking out 5-10 toys, place them in a box, and the nice men & women at the closest donation site of your choice will take care of the rest.

4. The bathroom closet/medicine cabinet with expired meds, unused beauty products, and scattered items?

You can get a trash bag to fill with the unusable items, purge any products that friends or family might like, and see what’s left. Once you know what you have, it’s easy to pick up containers like these from Target to contain items just the way you need and add a label to the front to make things easy to find!

Here are four little ways to make a big difference in your living space. They may not seem like much reading them on this blog, but trust us, we have experienced it personally and with clients time and time again.

Remember it only takes one little rock to start an avalanche. Who knows what organizing one small space in your home or workspace could lead to?

As always, if these tasks sound just like what you need but time is limited, HYD would be honored to help you along your journey to order in your space. 

Call us at 865.245.9080 for a free consult today.

Spring Cleaning Challenge Week 4


Another beautiful East Tennessee day with birds chirping and pops of color everywhere!
Let's finish out the month of March with a couple more simple tasks to help you enjoy the rest of Spring.


Image:  JollyEdition

1. Tackle the RSVPs. 

Spring is filled with wedding and baby showers, birthday parties and the like.  Take a moment to check your paper pile and your inbox to find all the RSVPs and give yourself just 15-20 little minutes to knock them all out and make sure to add the events you plan to attend to your calendar now!

2. Love your linens. 

Nothing is better for sleeping than a fresh, clean set of sheets.  Make it easier on yourself to grab that clean set by matching all your sheet sets and placing them inside the coordinating pillow case.  While you're at it, discard any unmatched or stained pieces you no longer need.