Paper Clutter can be a huge issue even in 2020. Most of us don't even buy CDs and DVDs anymore, but we still have piles and piles of papers, bills, cards, letters, and even Post-It notes cluttering up our lives. Here are some of my tips for reducing some of the insanity.

  1. Stop Paper Clutter AT THE SOURCE! This mostly has to do with the mail. I get a lot of clients asking me to set up a mail organizing system in their homes because their unopened or un-dealt-with mail is getting to be an issue and I always tell them that I haven't found a system that works aside from changing one's own behaviors. Taking five to ten minutes a day to process letters, bills, invitations, junk mail, and publications as soon as they land on your doorstep can be a difficult habit to adopt, but one that will ultimately eliminate the mail clutter problem at its source. Simply stopping procrastination when it comes to processing mail, is the only solution I find that is FAIL PROOF at dealing with mail clutter.

  2. Go Paperless! Luckily enough, most businesses are happy to stop sending you physical bills in the mail. This includes your bank, your insurance company, and even when you shop in a physical store. If you're concerned about these things cluttering up your email box, you can set up a separate account for receiving these documents like

  3. Digitize Physical Memorabilia: If you have boxes of old photos (or even worse, slides) lying around and are overwhelmed, a great idea that I've seen work for many is to have these photos digitized. If you're willing to spend the time, you can scan them yourself or you can send them off to a company such as iMemories and they will charge a small fee to scan each photo and send you a digitized version in whatever format you choose.

  4. Use an App for Passwords: Keeping track of passwords can be overwhelming, especially now since we have logins to sp many online places. My favorite password App is Dashlane, but LastPass is very good as well. These apps can create secure passwords for you so that you have some peace of mind when logging into websites.

  5. Utilize Scanning & Cloud Apps: There are so many places online now to store scanned documents online and some of my favorites are Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Dropbox is excellent for being able to share these documents with other people. Evernote is my favorite however being that it's easy to create documents and tag them so that you can easily find them later. Evernote Scannable is the very sleek scanning app that coordinates seamlessly with Evernote.

  6. Take Advantage of Scanning Services: If you need to scan a large number of documents and don't want to spend the time, you can have a service scan them for you with FedEx Office and Staples being the easiest to access and most widely available.

Setting Up A Filing System:

There are likely three kinds of papers you typically have kicking around:

  • Active Files (Keep Temporarily)

  • Permanent Files (Keep Forever)

  • Things to Shred/Recycle

Active Files might be medical bills, documents having to do with your vehicle, tax documents, etc. ALWAYS consult your tax preparer or legal representatives if you have questions about how LONG you need to keep physical copies of certain documents! For example, if you have questions about whether or not to keep physical copies of medical bills or other items consult whoever might collect these documents, like your insurance company, your auditor, or creditor. You may only need to keep them for a LIMITED amount of time. I recommended making a note of HOW LONG they require you keep the hard copies and make a note of it when you file it:

Physical Copies To Keep FOREVER: anything related to state or federal matters, including certifications, licenses, deeds, marriage licenses, divorce certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, wills, adoption papers or records of paid mortgages.

When trying to sort out files, try to keep categories broad at first. It's overwhelming if you start to micro-categorize. Remember to keep it simple! Again, if you are concerned about whether or not to keep a hard copy of a document, you consult whoever may need to collect it. Find a few of my favorite paper organizing items here on Amazon! (Affiliate Storefront: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.)

As I'm writing this blog post, there is a lot going on in the world right now. We are in the midst of battling an invisible challenge that has the world on edge. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now and I know a lot of us are scared. Many of us are bored or don't know what to do. It seems as if the world is ending and it seems fit to marinate in a soup of sadness, fear and hopelessness.

But...what about opportunity? If we are isolated at home with our families...perhaps it's time to adopt another perspective. This is the time to reset. This is the time to renew your relationships with your family. This is the time to nurture the relationships of those we've been neglecting. This is the time to reap the benefits of acts of kindness for those who are unable to get supplies or food. This is the time to learn a new skill. This is the time to update that resume you've been putting off. This is the time to finally clean out that closet you've been putting off (I am a professional organizer after all...did you expect any less of me?) This is the time to learn to bake bread if you've always wanted to. This is the time to teach your child how to ride their bicycle. This is the time to finally write that book, start that YouTube Channel or Podcast you've been itching to do but been afraid of what people might think. NOW is the've been given a gift. Don't squander it.

It's easy to get caught up in the fear and sadness...after all...we have not seen anything like this before in a long time. It's easy to let the sensationalism of the media infect your optimism. I am inviting you to be brave right now. Don't let anyone kill your spirit, dull your shine or tell you what you do at this time doesn't matter. I feel that whatever you do at this time matters more than ever. Be brave and use this opportunity to do things that will enrich your life and others' when clouds have lifted.

We will get through this. In the meantime...what are you going to do with your opportunity? I hope you take it. I hope you run with it. Please be kind...and wash your hands :)

Happy New Year! It's 2020 and it seems as though it's the year that everyone wants to make a change. I don't know if it's because 2020 looks cool or if it's the symmetry of the year 2020 but a lot of people want to get their homes and spaces organized this year and this is the year we're going to do it together.

As you may or may not know, January is National Get Organized Month, but of course, you're always free to get organized any month of the year, however, January feels like a fresh start which is why I believe people are motivated to make changes in their lives. So, starting this month, we'll be talking about how to take the steps to get to a point where you home hugs you instead of stresses you out.

The first topic I'd like to focus on is mindset. A lot of people have the desire to get their homes organized, but they are overwhelmed and don't know where or how to begin. Changing the way you think approach your project can help motivate you and relieve some of the anxiety that I know a lot of people feel around organizing their home. I've come up with a concept so simple that it blew my mind. Now, I'd like to point out that simple does not mean easy. It just means simple.

Being a professional organizer means I help people in their homes and online to repair a fractured relationship between them and their spaces and belongings. I firmly believe you ARE in a relationship with your homes and your belongings whether you like it or not and how organized or disorganized your space is, is dependent on the health of your relationship. More and more, over the years, I've started to focus more and more on client behavior than just putting things in rows. Not to discredit the value of creating an aesthetically pleasing space, but it is often the icing on the cake...not the eggs and butter and flour. Those are core components and without have no cake. If you try to ice your bowl of unprocessed cake ingredients, you won't get a pretty matter how hard you try.

So, the first step in achieving an organized home is changing your mindset about your space. The one thing that may help you get started in your space if you look around and you are overwhelmed and don't know where to start is to realize...that organizing is simply problem-solving and nothing more.

I realize not all of us are gifted when it comes to solving problems. I took a physics course in my post-baccalaureate days and let's just say...I practiced solving physics problems for hours and hours a day and over the course of the year, I got better at it, but ultimately, I found it to be difficult. However, you can get better with practice and help from someone who knows what they’re doing better than you do.


The reason I always mention that I don't have that many hard and fast rules for organizing that work for everyone is that disorganization is a phenomenon that is an individual experience and needs to be dealt with accordingly. When I am with clients for the first time working with them, instead of sitting down and getting to the decluttering and all that right away, I spend a pretty good amount of time asking questions and asking about their lifestyle and habits. I believe very strongly that the way you use and store your items is simply a manifestation of your behavior and the behavior of people in your household. That, in turn, creates a problem...that you then need to solve.

"I cannot find my keys when I go to look for them."

"I don't wear these boots because I can never reach them."

"My blouses keep falling on the floor when I go to hang them up."

"My kids are just throwing their coats on the mudroom bench instead of hanging them up."

"I can't find anything in my pantry when I need to cook."

"I have an ever-growing pile of unopened mail."

"My kitchen counter is cluttered with all kinds of junk."

If you think carefully about each one of these scenarios, they are just problems that need a solution. Sometimes the solution is to change a previously unhelpful habit and sometimes the solution is to buy a product and sometimes, it's both. This is why organizing spaces is such an individual experience and while it's definitely possible and helpful to gather ideas from other people's solved organization dilemmas, how you organize your space in a way that works for you and your household will be a personal experience.

When I'm with clients for the first time assessing their space, I will ask specifically what the problem is in their space and one of the answers I get back most frequently is: "It's a mess."

When I get this reply, I always ask them to go one step deeper. Is there something they are trying to accomplish in this space that's hindered by the "mess"? Is there an item that they regularly are trying to find and can't because of the mess? Is it a mess because not everything in the space has a place to go when it needs to be put away?

Going one step deeper can help give you an idea of where to begin when you are organizing a space. Simply figuring out the problem can take some of the guesswork and anxiety out of the "Where do I even start?" trap. Solving the problem is another feat but uncovering the underlying problem to be solved can actually do some of the heavy-lifting when you're on a path to home organization and improving your relationship with your space. I hope this inspires you and changes your view on your organization project this year so that you can create a home that hugs you!

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© 2019 by The Organized Soprano.