Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boot Camp - Day 14

Paper Scraps

Even though I had a pretty good handle on many aspects of paper clutter, this is still a problem area for me. What you can't see well in this picture is how many layers of notes and other pieces of paper are in this pile! And this is just 2 or 3 days worth.

I took Tanja's advice and decided to ban post-it notes and other scraps of paper for writing things down. I found this fun notebook in my cupboard and decided to keep all my lists in one place. I had so many different lists going - all on separate pieces of paper (grocery, educational websites, ideas, things to do, areas to declutter, blog post ideas, books to read, etc.) I think this will revolutionize the paper clutter problem in my life - my husband just thinks I'm crazy to be so excited about a notebook.

I also decided I can use my planner much more efficiently. Not only is there a nice monthly calendar layout....

There is also a nice weekly layout with plenty of space for writing down meals, things to do, people to call, etc.

A big source of paper clutter for us is homeschooling. I've come up with a pretty good system to organize and maintain our school-related paper. (I know this isn't really decluttering anymore, but it's my blog and it might help someone out there so I want to share it). I use this workbox system. Each girl has a set of drawers.

In addition to keeping their assignments in the drawers, I use the top drawer for their chore chart (thus eliminating the need to clutter up the front of my refrigerator). We also use a drawer for their violin practice chart. I know that charts can be clutter themselves, but when you are 4 and 6 it's nice to be able to track your progress and discipline.

In the bottom drawer we keep each girls finished work until it can be made into a lapbook or filed into their binder. I love how this system keeps papers from piling up on my counter or floors!

Another source of paper clutter comes from the 18 children I correspond with around the world. I love to keep the letters that I get and use them when I present the ministry and work of Compassion. I also love to go back and re-read them and see the progression of our relationship.

I've been at this sponsorship thing for 17 years so the letters add up. I have three big binders with a section for each child and store the letters here.

I have a fourth binder for MY letters to them. I write once a month and keep track of when and what I wrote. When I get letters from the kids, I store them here until I am able to respond. Then I move them to their other storage spot.

I also keep some of my own kids' drawings in here so I can include them in letters when I write.

Finally I will show you my recipe storage. I have gotten rid of all my recipe cards and most of my cookbooks and created my own binder of tried, tested and true recipes my family will eat. I typed, printed and organized them in this binder. There is a front pocket for recipes I think I might want to try - if they are in the pocket for more than 3 months, I toss them. I think I have tossed 99% of what gets put into this pocket!


  1. Love the recipe folder. I have a similar one which I think I need to declutter.

  2. I do the notebook thing for lists and random notes.

  3. "My husband just thinks I'm crazy to be so excited about a notebook."

    Just wait till he starts using a notebook Jill! It could happen. It seems like such a little thing but it totally revolutionized my life. I was the post-it queen. I wish I had a picture of some of my old post-it note disaster zones!

    I love your binders. I talk about that method in the book too, using clear plastic sheets and storing papers in binders. I've used mine for recipes, business, contacts and I've even had a random one.

    I love the way you keep all the letters that children have sent you. That is such a special, cherished treasure. Beautiful.

    Last, I've seen those paper carts like you have at the office stores. They look really functional. You've got paper under control!