Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Organizing Paper Clutter

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Organizing Paper Clutter

Hello there,  does anyone still have any junk or clutter lying around after the clean-sweep in blogland that is January??
I have read approximately one-bazillion posts on cleaning clutter, organizing closets, un-junking junk drawers, tackling toys, prettying up pantries (I don't even have a pantry!  Why am I reading those posts?!)... the list goes on and on.

In all of my clutter research I was looking for the solution to paper clutter in my kitchen.  My oldest started school this year and I can not belieeeeve the amount of paper that is sent home with him.  Seriously, it is reedonkulous!  How many trees are they killing for these kindergartners?? ;)

All the paper he brings home needs some kind of organization.  Some of it is completed work or art that I put in a special bin in his room for keeps or on the fridge, some of it is information for me of special dates and events, some of it is homework he has to complete and take back (don't even get me started about homework for kindergartners...), some of it goes straight in the garbage (shhh, don't tell him!)

He brings me all this paper every day and I just start making piles, then mail starts coming in and I pitch what I can up front but the rest goes on top of the pile.   The pile keeps growing with whatever other paper stragglers make it into the kitchen and by the end of the week I have a HAAAAUUUUGE mess! 

Ok, this is actually really clean for this area I'm sorry to admit... usually the piles are much bigger!

The mess drives me nuts!  It drives the hubs, Mr. I-don't-like-anything-on-the-kitchen-counter-ever!, even nutser.  (Yes, I just made up the word nutser, but it's true) 

Although I have an office I tend to do all paper work in the kitchen.  This is where I spend 90% of my time,   I can keep an eye on the boys and get something done plus, I am too lazy to walk up the stairs.  My office/mom cave is still a work in progress so it's not a very good place to hang out right now anyway.

I decided I needed some type of filing system in the kitchen.  I have seen people with filing systems in their kitchen or wherever all over blogland so this is not an amazing new idea.  I just tweaked it a bit to work for me. 

First, instead of a typical file box I got this super-cute lined basket at TJ Maxx for only $7.99! 

I then found some files (TJMaxx too, I'm tellin' ya, they should pay me for all the free publicity I give 'em!)  that match perfect for $2.99 (even the plain ones cost that much!).


I labeled everything with skinny post-it notes that fit across the labels tab of the file folder so I will be able to re-use the files easily.  I now have a file for all appropriate school papers, household stuff, plus my decorating business with room to spare! 

And, it even looks pretty!!

When we have company or I want less on the counters (or the hub wants less on the counters) I can just take the whole basket and move it to my office revealing a clean counter... everything stays organized and in it's place. 


Note to self:  going to have to take the picture down behind the basket.
Why didn't I ever think of this before?!  I guess it just took getting huge amounts of paper from little guy everyday and finding a cute basket and files (I don't care how much it helped me, I wouldn't put an ugly file box on my counter every day if you paid me. ;)

This cheap organizing project cost:
  • Cute basket: $7.99 TJ Maxx
  • 2 packs cute files 2.99 each: $5.98 
  • Skinny Post-it notes: $2.99
  • Total: $16.96
  • getting rid of paper clutter: Priceless! :)

What's your organizational savior??  Remember, it has to be pretty.

I'm linking...Crafty Soiree, House of Hepworths, Fireflies & Jellybeans, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Tatertots&Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick


  1. OMG this is such a great idea! I always have bills/mail/and all kinds of paper in my kitchen! I'll have to try something like this! Thanks so much!


  2. Cute file folders, where did you purchase them?

  3. I love this idea! It's practical and pretty.

  4. Oh my goodness...this is a FANTASTIC idea!!! I have the exact same problem and this is a beautiful solution!

    THANKS for sharing!

  5. Oh this is such an awesome idea. I am so excited to make this.Thanks!

  6. Thanks everyone! :)

    @ anonymous, got the file folders at TJ Maxx too, (just added that info to my post).

  7. you're a rock star, love it..may have to hit TJs myself!

  8. Beautiful solution. Thanks for showing us.

    Warmly, Michelle

  9. Great idea. I think we all try and think of boxes to hide our crap but the folders is a new one! :) love it.

  10. Such a great idea!

  11. I have the same problem, only I have THREE in school bringing home paper. I have a basket too, but no cute files. I gotta get some 'cause my basket looks like crap. Although, it might be because I NEVER clean it out. My Hubby hates things on the kitchen counter too.

  12. Love the idea of placing the files in a basket! I'll have to keep my eyes open for a basket that will work.

  13. I have no solutions. LOL I've been perusing all the other blogs and their secrets just like you were. I still haven't decided what would work for me.

    But yours is definitely getting me closer!! It's cute and functional! :)

  14. i'm gonna do this. love tj's. thanks for the idea.

  15. Beautiful! Love it! We just got a T.J. Maxx in our opened right before Christmas. I love it...they have some really great stuff!

  16. we have a serious paper problem in our house and I have been trying to figure out how to deal with it...this is a great idea, functional and fashionable :)
    Thanks for sharing

  17. I L-O-V-E this idea. Filing papers is the bane of my existence. Since my hubby moved the printer to the other room with the new computer, I have just the place for a file basket like that. I feel a shopping trip coming on! I adore the fancy files, too.

  18. This is very refreshing! Paper clutter is very frustrating. The way you filed them is so amazing, and a lot of people can benefit from learning the way you organized your documents.


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