I’ve spent a lot of time decluttering the past few months. One of the downsides to a small place is the lack of places to store things. I’m constantly trying to get rid of the things that we manage to accumulate.

I am a ruthless declutterer….


We know how I have trouble with getting rid of cords….and I have a keychain in the cabinet that holds a few more keys than I have locks…

But you know what else I have trouble with?


Over the past few years my family has gone to paperless billing. All bills, statements and such are online. So from 2015 onwards, the only thing I have in physical form are our tax returns.

But before that….


We have a file cabinet in our storage locker.

Out of sight, out of mind, Right?

I decided to tackle the file cabinet. I would go through the files one piece at a time…

I had utility bills from 2001….

Utility bills…

And they were all neatly filed by year….cable 2002….con ed 2005…verizon 2008….

But why did I have a record of all these paid utility bills that have absolutely no meaning?

Why I ask you…

Why was I saving all these things?


Who really wants to go through a file cabinet and throw out stuff?

Not I…

But this time…this time would be different…

So I went through the files piece by piece…

I loaded the unnecessary paper (which was the majority of the file cabinet) into several large bags…

And I began shredding…

and shredding…

and shredding

10 hours of shredding over two days…

I reorganized our tax returns and important papers….

hello brother P touch label maker…

It was a sense of accomplishment.

I felt so much better after the paper had been tossed, after the file cabinet had been cleaned…

I feel joy…

I am more cognizant of paper coming into the house. I set up new filing systems and scheduled a monthly day to go through what came in the previous month. My hope is that I’ve tamed the beast that is paper clutter…sort of cut it off from it’s head by going paperless with anything that can be paperless (think about it- my millennial neighbors don’t even check their mailboxes because they don’t expect to get things in paper form- they’ve grown up with online access- my Gen Z daughter looks at physical mail with a sense of distrust and is annoyed at the sheer environmental impact of a piece of paper)

How are you with paper clutter?

What do you do to keep it organized or at bay?

Do you wish you had a better paper system?

What are your paper secrets that I don’t know about?

Spill the beans on how you tame paper clutter…



57 thoughts on “Paper Cuts

  1. I feel your pain. I have a files that i put monthly statements and receipts in. At the end of the year I shread what I dont need to save and what I need to save is rubber banded by bank statements, utility Bill’s, etc.. I save the needed.papers for seven years. So when I put the current year in the bin I take out the earliest year and shread it. It’s a pain in the butt but I’m old school and dont pay a lot of stuff online.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you could see my guest room..piles and piles and piles of photos. Can’t find a photo scanner in stock anywhere..Guess I’m not the only one transferring pictures to computer during Covid. BIG MESS..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Cause BOGO is magic..even if you don’t want it, it sounds like you are getting a special gift. Well I’ve got special gifts alright…double prints of hands and clouds and our old dog..rocks and barbies a kids sticking their tongues out.. spread all over the guest room floor. This is a project that never ends..going into that room is like going into Chernobyl..I give myself then minutes to sort in there and then I have to come out and not go back for seven days..ugh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Plus can I tell you something? It’s a bit depressing sometimes..you know how you can get looking at old pics..maybe depressing isn’t the right word..you can get melancholy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean. I need to clean out my file cabinet. 🤦🏽‍♀️

    I keep a shredder in my kitchen where I open my mail. Whatever paper comes in that I don’t need or want gets immediately shredded. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The paper will be the end of me.

    2 kids in 2 schools. Schools claim to want to be paperless but still, don’t update websites regularly, send useless and duplicate emails with too many words on them, and still send home paper…it’s maddening.

    Our filing cabinet is the same. Plus there is a drawer with warranties and instruction manuals that are expired or of items we no longer have that needs purging. Instruction manuals are all mostly online now so I don’t see a reason to save the hard copies but I really, really have to choose carefully which battles I want to fight around here…😐🙄😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t save manuals at all now. I just jot down the model numbers of things I buy and when I bought them. So much easier than those manuals you will ever refer to again

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sadly someone who keeps too much paper. I’m trying to get better. I’ve started keeping a rolling 12 months of bills and credit card receipts which is an improvement for me. But there’s still too much. We have a community shred day coming up in September so this would be a great time to go through those boxes with old papers in them. But I probably won’t. Getting started is the hard part but I do like that feeling of accomplishment when it’s done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have tons of paper but get rid of most of the receipts at the end of the year. I only save the things I need for taxes. I occasionally clean out the warranty and manual file, at least getting rid of things we no longer own. The hubby just used the manual from the dryer we bought 20 years ago but truthfully was able to fix it watching a YouTube video instead! Craft paper, that’s a different story. My name is Janet and I am a paper addict.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But you use them for your crafts! I get that! When you have a hobby/profession you need certain tools. But those manuals are ridiculous. I found the one from our dishwasher two dishwashers ago….plus for every phone we’ve ever owned….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have the same problem. I went paperless with almost everything a while back and the other day I came across a large ring binder full of bank statements that are about 3 years old! I need to make some time for shredding too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have always kept copies of paid bills in case of a problem, but now that I pay my bills online I have to break that habit because all I need to do is to log on to my bank account bill pay and all the info is there. I haven’t gone over to paperless billing completely yet, but I am a little at a time. I can only shred for a short time before my shredder heats up and I have to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I pay all of my mom’s bills. It is almost all paper. Drives me crazy. My sister had sent up some online accounts for her years ago, but no record of usernames or passwords. So when I try to set up online bill pay it doesn’t work–because it says there is an account already.
    You don’t know how good you have it with online bill pay unless you have to switch to paper.
    Speaking of manuals–my husband saves the old phone manuals also—along with the boxes they came in. Who knows why?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I try to file papers when I get them but most of our paper is paperless now. Took a bit to get used to. I really need to go through filing cabinets though….I dread the thought of it! Maybe this winter when I’m stuck inside during a snowstorm!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have an old wooden file cabinet that needs to be “updated” myself, because I’m sure I will find bills that I pad back in the Bush administration. I just hope the second and not the first . . .


  12. I save papers needed for tax returns and instruction booklets. I scan the tax documents and put them in a folder, waiting for their trip to the preparer. When we get the tax returns back, I scan them and file the papers in John’s file cabinet. Come to think of it, they are all stacked together, and we should throw away one folder a year. All the bills are paperless. When Logan writes us a thank you note, I scan it to put with photos of the occasion.

    These days computers, cameras, and printers come with minimal instructions. i download the full manuals and keep them in one folder on the computer.

    I’m not going to talk about closets, because I know your clothing items are down to the bare minimum. I should give away tons of things, but I’ll let my children do that when I’m gone. They will have no trouble tossing every single item, whereas I would agonize over the decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You DID accomplish a lot! Some things don’t really need to be shredded, as far as I’m concerned, as long as they don’t contain account numbers concerning money. I’ve moved several times, and this helped motivate me to dump stuff. I think we saved bills, etc., when they weren’t available to view online if we had a question, etc. Now that they are, there’s no reason to save any of it anymore!


  14. I used to throw mail in a pile and eventually get to it. Now I immediately toss what’s trash (including coupons to places that suck me in…Michaels Craft store, Joann’s, etc.). Where I used to have filing boxes galore, I’m now down to a binder. Paperless is clutterless and that brings order not only physically but even emotionally. Might sound strange but clutter causes me to feel anxious.

    Liked by 1 person

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