photo credit: IMGP3494 via photopin (license)

photo credit: IMGP3494 via photopin (license)

If your home is anything like the average home, your kitchen is a paper magnet, attracting everything from mail, magazines, and newspapers to grocery lists, recipes, school papers, event flyers, coupons, manuals, and receipts. Without a system for managing it, all that paper can clutter up your kitchen in a hurry.

You may not be able to stop the flow of paper into your home, but you can put it in its place. Following are seven simple office organizing solutions that work equally well to declutter your kitchen.

1. Designate an inbox for frequent incoming paper. What are the 3-5 main categories of incoming papers that end up in your kitchen? Look for a set of stackable trays that you can label for each category. As paper comes in, “deliver” it to the appropriate box. At the very least, corral unopened mail in one basket and papers that require action in another. That way, if you need to find something fast, you know it’s in one of the two baskets.

2. If counter space is limited, decorative hanging wall bins may be a better alternative to baskets or trays.  Hang on a wall or on the back of a pantry door.

3. I use Post-It Self-Stick Wall Pockets on the inside of cabinet doors to stash things like meal plans or dinner recipes for the week, notes to self, and coupons. They’re also perfect for stashing a few envelopes, stamps, and return address labels.

4. A magazine rack can be used with colorful file folders to sort and store recipes you want to try. If you like the recipe, store it in a more permanent place for future use; if not, toss it in the recycling bin!

5. I love a hanging clipboard for keeping reference papers handy – a great solution for school event flyers, takeout menus, or bills to pay. Just tap a screw or nail on the back of a pantry door or other inconspicuous place to hang.

6. Magnetic clips are another way to keep like papers sorted. Hang on the side on your fridge where papers are not visible to anyone entering the kitchen, but still easily accessible.

7. Binders are one of my favorite ways to organize paper. A popular use for binders is to create your own recipe books using recipes torn from magazines. Another idea is to create what I call “The Finder Binder.” This is a place to keep favorite takeout restaurant menus, info about garbage and recycling pickup, important community phone numbers, plus instructions for babysitters, pet sitters, and guests about how to lock up the house, turn on the TV, and other things they might need to know. You can also include pages for each child with school event calendars, teacher names, and other important information.