How to Organize Papers and Get Rid of Junk Mail

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

One of the things I know we all struggle with is paper clutter.  Why is it that we all have so many papers!?  Bills, receipts, important papers, it all adds up so quickly, and if you don’t get organized, before you know it you’ll be drowning in it.

This is the year to organize papers and get rid of the clutter!  Today I’m going to give you a few tips for how to organize receipts, bills, junk mail and important papers!

#1 Receipts
The easiest way to keep track of receipts, but not have a lot of clutter, is with a NeatDesk or a NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner.  These scanners allow you to scan your receipts into a program that organizes them for you!  Once the receipt is scanned it can be thrown away, keeping your home receipt-clutter free!  Click here to see the full post on how I used it to organize my receipt clutter.

#2 Bills
These days most companies offer paperless billing, but I’m still one of those people that likes to see my bills on paper.  So after the bill is paid what do you do with it?  I have two answers for you.  If you have a NeatDesk simply scan the bill into your computer and file it away.  If you ever need to reference it again, simple pull it up and print it out.

The other option is to use color coded file folders.  Inspired by my friend over at A Bowl Full of Lemons, I purchased these rainbow file folders to organize my bills.

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

Here’s what they look like now that they’re all nice and organized.

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

I have 6 files, one for every two months, then at the end of the year I can shred them all.  I also organized our taxes and credit reports, and filed them behind the bills folders.

#3 Junk Mail
To manage my junk mail clutter I recently purchased a shredder.  It annoys me that companies send all kinds of junk mail with our account numbers on them, which means I can’t just toss them in the recycling bin.  I had a huge stack of papers that couldn’t be put in the recycling bin and it was starting to make me crazy so I bought a shredder and sliced them all up!

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

Now the shredder sits right next to my desk so when I open our mail I can slice up anything that has important info on it and we don’t need to keep it.  Don’t let the thought of an expensive shredder hold you back from purchasing one because there are tons of affordable ones out there!  Amazon sells them starting at only $30!  It’s totally worth it to spend a little money up front and keep your clutter down forever!

If you would like to get less junk mail all together, then you need to check out this link to Opt Out. “By opting out through the website or calling the number (1-888-5-OPTOUT) you will be removed from their pre-screening list at the main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Innovis, TransUnion). You will need to provide your Social Security Number and other personal information, but don’t worry, this site is legitimate. is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission. (source)

#4 Important Papers
Important papers, such as insurance information, car registrations, birth certificates, etc., can become a huge headache if they aren’t organized well.  Years ago I purchased an inexpensive filing cabinet and filled it with file folders to organize all of my important papers.  I recently went through and reorganized all my files with the colorful file folders and now everything is labeled and easy to find.

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

I’m not going to lie, it is a tedious process to sort through piles of papers, categorize them, file them and then label them but it is SO worth it! Here’s how much stuff I was able to get rid of!

Lots of helpful tips for how to cut down on paper clutter, including a link to opt out of junk mail! - Ask Anna

I seriously felt like a million bucks when I had finished reorganizing and labeling all of my files.  And now they look amazing and it’s easy to find whatever I’m looking for! {Full post on the reorganization coming soon}

If you follow these 4 tips your paper clutter will soon disappear!  You’ll wonder why you ever put up with the clutter, when it was so simple to organize it and get rid of it!  If you have questions about any of these tips please leave me a comment so I can help you, I really want this year to be the year we all conquer the clutter!

If you would like more help you can also visit my post Organizing the Mail.

Happy organizing!!!

* This post contains affiliate links.


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

Leave a Comment



  1. The Neat Desk organizer is on my wish list :) I just cleaned out our file cabinets last night (do it yearly), and it felt SO good!

  2. Janice Moss says:


    This is my year to own my clutter! I am vetting and purging and organizing like crazy. I am stumped on how to organize our many road maps. I am not “allowed” to throw any of them out but I want them organized and put away yet accessible when we need them. My current idea is to put them in a binder then put them in zippered plastic sleeves. Can you come with a betteer idea?

  3. I’ve been thinking about getting the Neat Desk Organizer- my question is, if you know, if you need the receipt for some reason down the road will this work as the ‘original’? Does that make sense??

  4. With the Neatdesk…when you scan your receipts, and you need to return something, does the store able to use your printed receipt…not the original?

    I would sooooo love one of those babies!!!

  5. Beverly Miller says:

    Anna, your paper organizing tips are a great help to me. I have already started to use your system. However, I have another very annoying source of clutter that I hope you can address. I love using my computer because it provides every available resource in the world and it makes my life easier in most respects. I am a senior citizen and am shopping more and more on the internet. I purchase everything from groceries to major appliances. As a result, I get every catalog known to mankind. Every single day my mailman brings several catalogs. It is out of control; I cannot possibly be interested in most of them or have the time to read them. And, I get email messages from the same businesses that send the catalogs. It has become increasingly problematic as I carry heavy bundles of catalogs out to my recycle container. Thank you in advance for any advice.

    • Hi Beverly! To stop the magazine problem you can call the companies and ask them to unsubscribe you from the magazines. If you get a lot it might take a while to do that up front but it will be worth the time in the end! You can also unsubscribe from the email clutter. If you scroll to the bottom of each of those emails there will be a link that says “unsubscribe”. This will unsubscribe you from getting their email newsletters. Good luck! :)

  6. Tracy Colangelo says:

    Hmm, I apologize if this is duplicate.

    I wanted to ask about the Neat Receipts scanner. I have been wanting this and I read online bad reviews. Does it work? Is it easy to install and user friendly? Can you split one receipt into several categories? I have a home daycare and I have to keep ALL my receipts. This would be so helpful!

    Thank you

  7. I love my NeatDesk, too! I’ve had it almost a year, and I use it at least a few times every single week. One thing you forgot to mention though is an online organizer like AboutOne. I store a lot of my papers there in digital form so that I don’t have to worry about a hard drive failure or a fire. It’s all safely stored in my AboutOne account.

  8. How did I not know about this receipt scanner? Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi,
    I am a writer so I have file folders, papers, articles all on and under a desk.

    I need to get a new desk and I am looking for one that either has drawers or has those wicker basket bins.

    Any ideas where I should shop or what kind I should get?

    Or should I just get a long shelf that has bins and use that? (I can write anywhere and usually do on the kitxhen table.)

  10. I would clear my desk of paper clutter! We have a small “office” space and paper always gets in the way.

  11. Not having the neat desk scanner is the ONLY thing standing in the way of me having the office I’ve always dreamed of. As a work-at-home mom of two toddlers, I can never seem to make it to the ever growing pile of papers in my living room and office space.

  12. Deborah Head says:

    I have wanted one of these for several years now but haven’t had the extra cash to purchase one. My husband is a pastor who has just completed Seminary and Residency requirements. We paid for his Seminary out of pocket; however, we are now trying to replenish what we have spent back into our retirement account; which was greatly depleted!!!! It would be such a blessing with all the receipts and documents that I have to keep up with for taxes and ministry. What a blessing to receive this, if I am so chosen!!!!! It will NOT go to the wayside, I promise you!!!!! Have a blessed day!!! Keep up the great work!!!! Thank you for this possibility of winning!!!!! :-)

  13. How do you know what papers to keep and which ones to toss. How long do you have to keep the paper.

    • mreynolds says:

      Kathy –
      This is Monique, Anna’s assistant. It all depends on which type of papers you are referring to. Anna has written a great post about how to organize you mail (which is where most of our papers come from :). You can find it here:
      As a rule of thumb, we usually keep important papers for 3-5 years. Hope this information helps!