Paper Organizing Tools + Recommendations

Organizing household papers can feel overwhelming, but having the right paper organizing tools will make it easier. Once you sort through the clutter and begin using products that really work, you will find the results are worth the initial effort.

These simple solutions will help you build a system that’s practically effortless to maintain. Keep reading to discover the paper organizing products I use and recommend, plus a few fun extras.

basket of organized files

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Stop Paper Clutter at the Door

Where does paper collect when it enters your home? Make sure you have the right setup to handle the inflow so that it doesn’t turn into piles of clutter and missed due dates.

I love this wall-mounted file holder‘s farmhouse style! You could use one section for mail and the second for all those school papers that come home during the week. Everything will look neat and contained even if you only have time to sort once per week.

If hanging something new on the wall isn’t your thing — or if your family is used to tossing everything on the counter — try something like this pretty wood mail organizer.

Here’s another version of a countertop organizer in clear plastic. The slim design and multi-level file sections will keep your incoming paperwork neatly contained in a small space. Be sure to get beautiful file folders that match your decor and this will look like it totally belongs wherever you place it.

Organize Refrigerator Door Clutter

The refrigerator door can be one of the worst places for collecting paper clutter. You can click here to read the full version of how I solved the messy refrigerator door problem. But the quickest and best tip I can give you is right here, because you really only need one thing.

These clear magnet pockets are my very favorite thing EVER for conquering the front of a fridge. I have a french door refrigerator, and two of them fit perfectly on each door. If you turned them sideways, you could easily fit three.

Use them to hold the papers that used to be precariously held by magnets. Calendars, meal plans + recipes, lists, photos + invitations, and more. Whatever doesn’t fit in these, doesn’t need to be on your refrigerator.

Everyday Paper Organization

Okay, you’ve stopped the worst of the paper clutter at the door and you no longer have random bits of paper constantly falling off the refrigerator door… But what about the ‘regular’ paper? How can you centralize bills to pay and other papers that you need to deal with but just don’t get to every single day?

No two people will use exactly the same solution. For those who do nearly everything online, you may not even need to centralize your paper. Stopping the mail at the door could be all you need. But for the rest of us, it’s good to have one place to keep everything until we’ve handled it and filed it away afterward.

THIS ITEM IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING.

This is the woven file basket I use. It holds everything I need to remember, need to sign, need to work on, need to plan, need to file… Get the picture? Everything!

Since I work from home, I use the back section for business files, the center section for personal and family files, and the front for pens, notepads, the checkbook, etc.

One thing to note: You will need to be careful when purchasing file folders. The maximum size this basket will hold is 11-5/8″ (11-1/2″ is better) — most file folders are 11-3/4″ wide and will not fit without trimming.

These decorative file folders are 11.5″ wide, which would work just fine for the basket I recommend above.

Click here to see more 11.5″ file folders.

To be honest, I prefer these slash pocket files over regular file folders. It feels to me like they hold my papers more securely, plus I can see what’s inside at a glance. I love to use them for my work projects.

If you DON’T need space for business files, this wood desktop organizer (same as the one earlier in the post, just a different color) is my top recommendation for a simple way to keep all the papers and information you need to access frequently in one place.

With some pretty file folders in the back, pens and sticky notes in the front, you can set up a great system.

Need to keep receipts for tax purposes? This expanding file will hold them until it’s time to hand everything off to your tax preparer. You can label the sections by month or category.

If you’re not into ‘pretty but more than you need’ central organizing baskets, this clear hanging file holder bin is a good choice. Hanging files are great for ease of use because they slide open and closed so smoothly. Plus you can always tuck a pretty regular folder inside if you want.

Click here to check out a variety of decorative hanging file folders that would look great in this bin.

woven file basket with organized files pens and notepads

Organizing School Papers

Setting up a bin for school papers is something you’ll be VERY glad you did when your children have grown and it’s time to get ready for their graduation party. These products make it super-easy.

Want to know exactly how to make your own bin? These step-by-step school memory box instructions are just what you need!

Letter/legal hanging file boxes are the perfect size to hold all of your children’s school papers and a few of the more precious mementos you just can’t let go. At just a bit larger than 18″x14″, they store nicely on a shelf or inside a closet.

I chose to use the ‘sheer’ color for my boys’ bins because it’s not completely clear and gives just a hint of what’s inside. That helps my storage shelf look less cluttered but still visually light.

Using white hanging files inside the white bins helps keep everything bright and neat-looking. I like these folders with the large built-in tabs.

For some reason, white file folders are not very common. You’ll find they tend to be a little more expensive than the other colors.

Organizing with Binders

I absolutely LOVE using binders to organize! They’re perfect for organizing recipes, appliance manuals, and tracking household management. Binders also organize much of my business life — like online course materials, blogging ideas and records, and more.

Avery heavy-duty one-touch slant-ring view binders are the ones that I’ve found to be the easiest to use and hold up well over time.

I love the white version. It’s so easy to print pretty covers and spines to personalize the binders.

If you use your binder for planning or keeping records throughout the year, these preprinted monthly dividers are perfect. I love how each quarter is a different color. This is genius if you use a system like The 12 Week Year.

Clear sheet protectors are handy for keeping your pages clean and easy to flip through. Plus you can make your printed pages into re-usable checklists by storing them in the sheet protectors and using dry erase markers.

These pocket dividers with clear tabs are so pretty! Plus, the clear tabs means it’s easy to read the labels.

These snap-in plastic dividers for 3-ring binders are so handy! I always have at least two or three in use in each of my binders. I mark favorite recipes, my progress point in the year or a course, and various pages I need to find quickly.

Long-Term Home Paperwork Storage Solutions

Now that we can handle so many things online and store most records in digital form, you may not need a large filing cabinet to hold decades of paperwork. It’s likely a single box or a two-drawer cabinet with hanging files will be more than enough storage space.

These pretty file boxes would look beautiful on a storage shelf.

If you’re concerned about damp or bugs, this weathertight plastic file box is a good choice for important files.

These plastic hanging files with magnified labels are great for anyone who might have difficulty reading the print on small file tabs. It might be cost-prohibitive to organize an entire file cabinet with them, but I would certainly consider them for frequently-used files.

Regular hanging file folders don’t have to be boring! You can use your favorite colors to organize the inside of your file cabinet. It’s always more fun to file when you’re not staring at the old green color that makes you think of a doctor’s office from fifty years ago. Just sayin’. 😉

Sometimes, you just want a ‘classic’ file cabinet look. This is not a heavy-duty file cabinet, but it’s on casters and it will hold your files.

Controlling paper clutter sometimes feels like a neverending battle. But with the right paper organizing tools like these that work for YOU, it becomes much easier.

To see more organizational products I love, visit my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/shop/fillingthejars

Looking for More Ways to Simplify Your Life?

Declutter Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed With Too Much Stuff

62 Things to Declutter That You Won’t Miss at All

Eliminate Decision Fatigue — Add “Flow” to Your Day & Relieve Stress


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tidy files in a basket from the paper organizing tools list

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