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5 tips to kiss the family paper pile goodbye - for good
Does the pile of papers on your counter seem to grow faster than you can tackle it? These simple solutions help you know right where the homework, coupons, invitations, etc. belong! - photo by Julia M.L. Whitehead

Junk mail, homework, coupons, ads,

Bills that I should file.

Magazines and more are sitting

In my paper pile.

Cluttering my countertop

And looking downright scary.

I start to chip away and wonder,

Wheres my secretary?

So if it seems Ive vanished -

Havent seen me for a while,

Please start to dig, Im buried

Underneath my paper pile.

Fortunately since the year I scribbled this poem, I have emerged - and not without some helpful tips to share.

Here are five ways to help declutter your paper pile - for good!

1. Create an "Out 'n' About" organizer

This is a great way to have all of your coupons with you on the go. Mine, for example, is an 8.5 x 11 file with tabs to separate items, like the free meal cards earned by the kids at school, gift cards or discount ads that come in the mail.

Keeping this file in the car makes it easy to flip through when you need to decide on the best place to pick up dinner.

2. Get some strong magnets

Do you like to have those must-see papers posted on the fridge? Small decorative magnets just dont do the job. They need to withstand the repeated opening and closing of a door, and sometimes stick through several papers.

The jackpot gems I found were in the construction section of Home Depot. These Pull Power Handle magnets can hold up to 25 lbs. of weight and are worth every penny of the $5.97 they cost. I lined them with duct tape to protect my refrigerator's smooth, white surface.

Now that permission slip, event reminder and this weeks reading record are both viewable and accessible.

3. Use binders

After trying a stacking file, I decided that binders are a better system based on their look and portability. School papers, registration receipts for sports, unfinished artwork and more are all lurking within these neatly placed personal binders.

When its time to go through them, each child can find a place to spread out and purge old papers.

4. Have a "Moms Mailbox"

When the kids reach the age where they are old enough to be expecting the Lego catalog, but are still too young to be trusted to let the parents know about any other mail that arrives, this will help.

Designate a place for them to put all mail besides their own, for you to sort through each day.

A simple but sturdy file box does the trick. It is upright, so the mail doesnt get buried.

5. Use a For now folder

Certain items, like party invitations, monthly newsletters or wedding announcements, contain timely information that may need to be referred back to. Keeping these kinds of items in their own folder will allow you to easily check a date or time if needed. Be sure to clean it out regularly to keep it current.

Now you are prepared to tackle those papers as they come!

Note: Several of these ideas are similar to some mentioned in April Perrys Mind Organization for Moms system. For further explanation, and a more in-depth filing system, check out M.O.M. under the programs tab at
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