Friday, April 8, 2011

Taming the paper monster

I'm buried in a sea of paper. Literally. My work desk is a foot deep in marked-up papers, sign-offs, meeting notes, etc. I've yet to find a working solution. Add a kindergartener, preschooler and a college-student husband to the mix of bills, work and other "business" of home, and you'd think my home would be in a similar situation. And sure, I have a few hot spots, like our kitchen table that never seems to stay clean. But thankfully, we're starting to tame the paper monster. Slowly. Here's what's working for me:

  • We reuse. Work papers get rehashed as printing paper for everything from recipes from the Internet to printouts of email receipts to word finds for my kindergartener. And the papers are stored in two locations: one for printing, and one for easy kid access. That way they're not mixed about the house.

  • We recycle. We keep at least one, if not two, recycling bags in our kitchen to toss completed math papers, junk mail, newspapers, etc. When the bag's full, we drop it off at the school's paper recycling station, which helps the school as well. Since we drive our child to work anyway, we have no excuse. The cool thing? It helped the environment and raised $1300 for tuition assistance last year!

  • We eliminate. I have a serious problem with lists and sticky notes and multiple calendars. This year, I stumbled on a "mom planner," which has kept my life saner and more organized than I've felt in a few years. Each weekly sheet tracks by day my activities and those for each of my family members, along with a space for lists and daily meals. Along with that, we posted a wipe-off monthly calendar and menu on our fridge, so it's easy to consult or change.

What works for you in taming the paper monster? Any other habits that can help us out?

1 comment:

Cindy @ OnePartSunshine said...

My iPhone has been a tremendous help for keeping paper waste under control. I used to keep a journal detailing interesting things that happened in my life but now I use a great app called Memento. And instead of sticky notes and lists, I use an app called OmniFocus (which is also on my computer). I also use my phone's camera a lot to take pictures of things I want to remember for later (like an interesting book or a page in a magazine).