Detox Your Paper System

As we go through our homes and detox each room, we're going to find tons of paper. Bills, receipts, letters, coupons, lists...there are so many things we keep and let pile up. Soon those piles overrun everything and that's all you see in each room!

Room by room, we need to collect all of our paper in one place. Having a designated home for each and every sheet of paper that comes into our house is essential or we'll waste time and energy looking for things when we need them.

So as you tackle the paper that's already in your home, find a system that works for you. Either the one you have isn't working or you don't have one in place. I have a filing cabinet in the corner of the craft room, but I tend to pile up paper in front of it to file later. This is great if I take the time to file every now and then, but not if I have to go searching through the pile to find something immediately. A filing cabinet may work for you, or you may like the idea of folders in a cubby in the kitchen. Create something wonderful that fits your lifestyle and allows you to make order out of chaos.

Sort through each pile, deciding what you absolutely have to keep (for serious, financial or document purposes) and what can be discarded. Have a shredder handy so you can destroy personal and sensitive information.

Isn't this terribly time consuming? Yes.
Isn't this a little nit-picky and tedious? Yes.
But isn't it time consuming and tedious to search every single pile in your home to find the water bill?
But isn't it time consuming and tedious to walk around a pile of papers when you probably don't need half of them in the house?

Any time and effort that you put into detoxing your paper system now is going to save you time and effort exponentially later. Think about how much more efficiently your home could run and how much more sane you would feel if you could walk right up to a file, pull out what you need and have confidence that you can put it right back when you're finished! Investing time in your home is a simple way to know you're building it for the Lord.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Leaving piles of papers around the house can be considered plucking down your home with your own hands. There is little peace in a system of disorder, and that peace is what our souls crave. Why would we not put forth the energy to care for a silly thing like paper?

The paper system in your home can be a thing of order by keeping three simple rules in mind.

Paper Rule #1 - Downsize what you don't need! Sort, shred, organize and store. If it's old, useless, never been read or still in the envelope, chances are you don't need it. Carefully analyze everything and deal with it appropriately. Recycle what you can, then shred and toss what you can. You'll be surprised at what you've clung to for weird reasons.

Paper Rule #2 - Put it in a different form! If you have a scanner, put some of those necessary documents on your computer. Look on magazine websites for articles instead of clipping everything. Copy recipes into your cookbook or save them in a binder instead of piling them up. Collect all of your coupons in one place and tuck it in your purse. Keep lists on your desktop or phone to save paper. Do what works for you, choose what fits your lifestyle and get rid of what you don't absolutely need.

Paper Rule #3 - Keep the paper out to begin with! The majority of bills can now be viewed online, as can pay stubs and payments. Request that all of them be sent to your e-mail address and not through regular mail. You'll have them all on-hand, but not in-hand, which is just fine. They will be available to print if you really need to, but chances are you won't. Open your mail next to the garbage can so you can discard immediately. (You know that if you don't do it now, you probably won't do it at all.) Then it won't travel around the house where it isn't needed.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with all of your paper, take it pile by pile and room by room. This isn't a rush job and you definitely don't have to finish this task before you go on to the next one. Remember that building a home is a work-in-progress, so pray for some sorting abilities and tackle that first pile!

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