5 Tips to Help Control the Paper You Kind of Need to Have Around

26 Sep

There are so many blog posts and tips out there with pictures of these beautifully organized offices – like this one:

beautiful home office

Or perfectly organized filing cabinets – like this one:

organized files

Or worse yet, perfectly organized offices and file cabinets that are also color coded – like these:

color coded files

organized office

Of course, I look at these types of pictures often and dream of a day when my life might be this organized.  Unfortunately, life is happening too fast around me to have the time it would take to transform my world – or at least the world in the drawers of the desk in our office to be as asthetically pleasing as they are functional.  Honestly, being a busy mom and business owner, I’m just happy when I know where the $10 coupon to JCPenney is, or where the receipt is for the Little League Banquet that we need to produce at the door.  For now, I have to be OK knowing that my phone bill’s for the last 2 (or more) years are sitting in a file folder – just not a beautifully color coded file …

That being said, I have some VERY EASY and VERY LOW TECH solutions that you may be able to adopt in your house to try and control the most important pieces of paper that suddenly become so elusive right when you need them.

Tip #1:  Where to corral the tickets and invitations

Supplies Needed:

1 cup hook

1 binder clip

The inside of a kitchen cabinet

After RSVP’ing to an invitation, or getting tickets to an event we will be attending, I have 1 place in our house where they go – clipped to our family calendar inside a cabinet door in the kitchen.

tickets and invitations

Tip #2:  How to keep the misc papers and coupons handy in your purse

Supplies Needed:

1 binder clip

Of all the low tech options you will see out there, this is possibly the most basic option – yet – it is VERY effective.  I walked around for years with various pieces of paper scattered about my purse – big and small.  Just keeping them all together with a binder clip automatically keeps my purse so much more organized.  And when the other moms seem to be digging around looking for a practice schedule or a school notice, I can produce one on demand.


Tip #3:  How to keep gift card and excess credit cards together

Supplies Needed:

1 zip top sandwich bag

OK, so I know I said in tip #2 that it was possibly the most basic option – but now I realize that this tip is  even more basic.  Some people may not have binder clips in their house, but I’m willing to bet that any busy mom on the go has a box of zip top sandwich bags in their kitchen.

One of the things I hate is when my wallet gets really overloaded.  When it does, I can’t seem to find anything at all – and depending on what purse I am using, it barely fits.

My solution for keeping all the miscellaneous gift cards and store credit cards I have is your run of the mill zip top sandwich bag.

Gift and Credit Cards

Tip #4:  How to keep paint chips, rosters and business cards with you

Supplies Needed:

1 plastic gift card holder

Several years ago, my son’s school sold gifts cards as a fundraiser.  For $1 they also sold these plastic sleeves to hold your gift cards.  Not thinking I would ever use it, I did end up buying one.  Looking back, that plastic holder has not left my purse in the last 7 ½ years…

On the left hand side there are 3 plastic sleeves that hold gift cards.  Since I use the super technical “sandwich bag” for my gift cards nowadays, I use these sleeves for various business cards – the Pediatric dentist, the Sports Medicine doctor that took care of my sons wrist, etc.  I also use it for various cards that I rarely use and my husbands business cards.

The right hand side has one big compartment – I think it was for various restaurant certificates in the program.  I use it to carry along rosters for my sons football team and paint chips for various rooms in our home.  These chips come in quite handy whenever I am in stores looking to buy something for our home.

paint chips, rosters and business cards

Tip #5:  Receipts, receipts, and more receipts

Supplies Needed:

1 wallet

2 plastic page protectors

1 pleather holder thingy… obviously not the technical term – see picture below

The one item of paper that seems to end up everywhere – besides the mail in my house – are receipts.

Reasons you should hold onto receipts:

Some can be discarded right away – like if you buy a pack of gum or some groceries

Some need to be held onto until you are sure you aren’t returning whatever it is you bought

Some need to be kept until the gift is given and the recipient is happy with it

Some should be held until you reconcile your credit card statement (I wish we did this in my house, but we don’t)

Some should be held because the store (or company) has a really generous return policy – like Home Depot – if a plant dies within a year you can return it for a new one

Some should be held onto so you know what and how much to buy next time – example – our landscaping rocks

Some should be held for tax purposes

Some should be held for business reasons

I could go on and on…

As long as you have a system – and realistic reasons for holding on to these annoying little pieces of paper – receipts don’t have to take over your life.

I always keep the receipts in my wallet until I am home – if they end up in shopping bags they tend to get lost easier:


Business receipts get put into plastic sleeves that go in a business binder until they are reconciled:


Home receipts are stored in our ‘pleather holder thingy’ until it can be either thrown away, filed for tax purposes or filed within the appropriate file (like the landscaping folder).

home receipts

I hope you can take at least one of these tips to make your life easier.

Do you guys have any quick and easy tips to corral the day to day paper we are all faced with?  Please share your ideas or tips by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation apparel for boys and girls.

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.

2 Responses to “5 Tips to Help Control the Paper You Kind of Need to Have Around”

  1. Nancy September 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    I need help organizing and I picked up a great tip on one of the morning news shows. OHIO – only handle it once.

    • BaptismalGownsPlus September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      I love it! There is a lot of paper that comes in the house that probably shouldn’t make it through the front door… the less you have to deal with it, the better.

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