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Help! I’m buried under paper and I can’t get up!

Posted By Beth Terry On July 15, 2009 @ 10:11 am In Art Craft Office,home improvements | 52 Comments

So here’s the deal. I promised to write a post on BlogHer.com [1] about plastic-free organizing tips next week. But I have no business writing any such thing. Just take a look at my desk:

I’ve been trying to organize my office space ever since we moved here in 2005, and it’s just not happening. Paper, paper everywhere. I’ve been working to reduce the amount of paper mail I receive. I get most of my bills online and don’t print them out. And yet, my desk is always full of paper — to do notes, meeting notes, contact information, flyers, business cards — and I just feel overwhelmed. (That photo? I just took it this morning. Last week, my desk was even worse before I went on a rampage and recycled a whole bunch of stuff that had “expired.”)

So I want some ideas. Some systems for clearing the clutter. And if you have a blog and have written about this topic, I’ll totally give you full credit, link to you, and say how great you are!

The trouble is, many of the organizing and simplifying ideas I read in magazines at the check out counter involve buying a bunch of new stuff. Plastic bins. Plastic trays. Plastic business card holders. Check out the home page for the Container Store:

Every item is made from plastic. I’m not interested in buying new plastic. I’m not really interested in buying anything new at all.

How can I simplify, reduce, and organize without accumulating even more stuff?

Here are a few more photos to show you what I’m dealing with here. First, the full space. Can’t put anything on top of the shelf in the window because that’s Arya’s area. She loves to lie there and look out at the world.

That pile of stuff on the floor — always there and usually bigger. Stuff I don’t have a place for.

And here’s what ends up happening to the bazillions of business cards I collect. Useful, right? But I don’t want a plastic business card holder. Would love to figure this one out before the BlogHer conference next week, where I’ll inevitably end up with a whole lot more unless I can figure out a better system. (Write contact info in notebook and hand back the card? Seems like it could take too long in a room full of women all passing out cards.)

Can you guys please help? What do you do to reduce clutter on your homes? How do you manage piles of paper, or have you gone paper-free? Do you have instructions for DIY organizers that don’t require a lot of new stuff? Any and all ideas are welcome!

This post is my contribution to the Spring Cleaning: get the Junk Out Carnival [3].  Read more about getting rid of clutter at Kitchen Stewardship [4] and check out all the useful carnival posts at  Organizing Your Way [5].

Article printed from My Plastic-free Life: http://myplasticfreelife.com

URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/07/help-im-buried-under-paper-and-i-cant/

URLs in this post:

[1] BlogHer.com: http://www.blogher.com

[2] Image: http://www.containerstore.com/

[3] Spring Cleaning: get the Junk Out Carnival: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/03/10/announcing-the-spring-cleaning-get-the-junk-out-carnival/

[4] Kitchen Stewardship: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/05/17/spring-cleaning-carnival-get-the-clutter-out/

[5] Organizing Your Way: http://www.organizingyourway.net/decluttering/

[6] Image: https://plus.google.com/+BethTerry

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