Origami isn't the Only Paper Art

Chris Shanahan

Look around your home. How much paper do you see?

And how much of it do you actually need?

If you own a home, loose papers like bills, mailings, flyers, greeting cards, coupons, newspapers and magazines can pile up. We often hesitate to throw them away in case important paperwork lies between the bundles of junk mail. Greeting cards have sentimental value, and we keep magazines because we think we’re going to read them some day.

If you’re selling your home, it’s more important than ever to do something about the clutter. Loose paper strewn throughout the house can be a distraction and buyers will perceive your home as dirty and unorganized.

Take some time to clean up your paper trail with these steps:

Get rid of papers you don’t need.
Look at all those piles of papers: the ones stacked on tables, crumpled in drawers and stuffed in folders and files. Go through them and recycle anything unnecessary. Shred old bills and any other unwanted documents with vulnerable information. Organize any papers you have left over in a filing cabinet that you can keep in your home office or the basement. If you don’t want them in the house at all, you can keep them in a storage facility.

Look through your magazines.
That cooking magazine from 2006? It’s time to come clean—you’re never making those recipes. And those old news magazines aren’t even relevant anymore. Anything older than a year should be recycled. If you’re heartbroken about getting rid of them, look into possible charity organizations that take reading materials.

Check your coupons.
Experts on budgeting will keep track of coupons and use them in a timely fashion, while most of us clip and forget them. Go through your pile and throw out any coupons that have expired or redeem products you aren’t likely to use. Use a coupon organizer or an envelope for the keepers. Get in the habit of using your coupons and keeping the new ones organized.

Don’t let sentiment get in the way.
There are a lot of things we keep for sentimental value: greeting cards, letters, photos, kids’ school assignments, etc. Some things are worth saving, but there’s nothing wrong with throwing the others away. Cards from favorite relatives or friends that have special personal messages can stay. A card that simply wishes you a happy birthday, however, belongs in your recycling. No one wants to get rid of their kids’ masterpieces, but there’s no shame in saying goodbye to generic projects or tests. Put photos in albums and keep everything else out of sight.

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