Paper Processing (How to make your paper disappear!)

paper management


Overwhelmed by paper and just want to make it vanish?  Paper processing is a way to be sure you are getting rid of as much extra paper as you can.  Check out these ideas!


Gather paper together mail, your kids’ backpacks, and other areas.

  • Set up a command center with slots for action, pay, file and receipts.
  • Set up baskets for your kids’ school papers to keep for a month
  • Process incoming papers 5 minutes each day
  • Create a weekly administrative time for one hour to process everything in your command center and file.


Kids papers

  • Once a month review your kids papers. Keep only what is precious.
  • Keep precious papers and art in a box in your kids’ closets, photo it for a photo book, or use a large portfolio to store it.


Annual paper review

  • Each February as you prepare for taxes, gather papers for tax prep, archive financials, and shred papers.
  • Group papers by year that may be of  more importance, such as medical explanation of benefits, credit card statements or kids school documents.

Going paperless

  •  Use PaperKarma to eliminate paper
  • Use to eliminate junk mail and magazines.
  • Choose a scanner to move from paper to digital.
  • Include a To Be Scanned section in your command center.


References for what to keep

  • ABCs of Important Papers
  • Real Simple 5 Steps for Simpler Record Keeping
  • Ellen’s Blog Important Papers


More ideas for getting rid of paper in my monthly newsletter.  Join here!


8 replies
  1. Nancy Borg
    Nancy Borg says:

    Great simple breakdown to avoid paper overwhelm. As you describe, the best way to keep papers at bay is to manage them routinely so they don’t accumulate.

  2. Sabrina Q.
    Sabrina Q. says:

    Great infographic. I like to keep bills and such for a few years and then revisit them to weed it though every 3 years if there were no issues with the taxes. Thanks for sharing. I will be sharing this one .

  3. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Thanks Sabrina! Yes, there are different types of bills we keep longer for different reasons. Having your annual file archive keeps your filing open to add new papers.

    Glad you enjoyed this post!

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