Organizing the Paper Trail


I grew up with a mom who couldn’t stand to have anything sitting on the kitchen counter.  Her countertops were always spotless, with not even a coffee pot left sitting out.  She didn’t like clutter, and her kitchen testified to that.

But then there was the desk….

The desk sat in a hallway between the back door and the kitchen, and it was almost always not spotless.  The culprit?  Mail, and lots of it.  You see, even my mom, the queen of clean countertops, had a problem spot—a place where keeping things neat and tidy was a continuous struggle.

I’m going to venture to guess that if you have a mailing address, you have a problem spot in your home, too—a place where, despite your diligence in decluttering, a paper trail continually forms.

My “spot” is the breakfast bar.  It’s the go-to place when we walk in the door with a handful of stuff, and it’s the place where we go through our mail each day.  Sounds like the makings of a problem area, doesn’t it?

Well, it is… but to a much lesser degree ever since I recognized the fact that I was never going to altogether eliminate the existence of a problem area.  When I admitted to myself that there just IS going to be a perpetual fight with paper trails—and the breakfast bar just IS going to be the arena—I realized I’d be better off working with the problem instead of against it.

Enter the All-in-One Organizer–now upgraded and called the Keep-It-Caddy–one of my favorite Thirty-one products (sold by our very own Sarah Farnsworth, by the way).  This tote, with the addition of some labeled file folders, sits on my breakfast bar and has been a huge help in containing and organizing the mail that would be there anyway, only in messy stacks.  It serves as a sort of holding place until I can take time to permanently file things away.  And, when company is coming and I want to be a little more like my mom, clearing the countertop of my “clutter”–which is (theoretically) just the tote–can be easily accomplished without having to shuffle piles.

So, that’s my solution for the paper trail problem.  What’s yours?!


  1. thanks for the shout out to Thirty-one Angela!  not to further promote my business or anything, but i have a few new favorites for organizing now!  our fold/file is awesome.  basically the same as the All in One or Keep It Caddy, but made for files.  Also have a new hang up family organizer that can go on the wall and has slots so “to pay”, “to file” etc.  love so many things!

  2. You’re so right Angela.  We have a “problem spot” in our house but it has significantly improved with the All in One tote. Now they just need a tote to contain legos and barbie stuff and kids that will put there stuff in them. 🙂


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