How to Easily Declutter Paper

posted in: Organizing 2

How to Easily Declutter PaperDo you want to declutter your home?

Need help identifying what to keep and what to toss?

Paper clutter can easily overrun a house or apartment.

All the more reason to have an easy way to keep things under control!

In this post, I offer a super-simple way to declutter paper from your home or office.

While there are different types of paper clutter (that’s another blog post in and of itself), you can conveniently dispose of large amounts of paper clutter by removing old or outdated items.

Below you’ll find a helpful list of twenty-one common household paper items.

In most cases, you can easily recycle these items without batting an eye.

Those items with personal or other personally identifiable information may need to be shredded before recycling.

For the most part, a quick glance at the calendar will let you know what’s worth keeping…and what isn’t.

Now, let’s move on to the list!


Party invitations

Whether or not you attended that party or fete, you don’t have to hold on that now-expired invitation.

Manufacturer coupons

An expired manufacturer coupon won’t help you save money now or in future.

Take out menus

Take out prices or menu items may have changed. In some cases, a restaurant may have moved or closed.

Newspapers, magazines, and journals

If you’ve finished reading or using a periodical, you can recycle it.


These come in all shapes and forms, from birth to school announcements. Chances are, you’ve already read and/or processed the announcement.


These include old wall or desk calendars. Check if there’s any relevant information in the calendar before shredding and recycling.


Dated catalogs aren’t much use when it comes to ordering the latest fashions, furniture, or food. You can freely let these items go.

Gift certificates or vouchers.

A quick phone call to the company offering the service or product will let you know if the certificate is still valid. If it is, save it and use it! If it isn’t, you can shred and recycle it without worry.

Travel books or guides

Outdated accommodation, transportation, and attraction information won’t be of much help to you on your next vacation.

Advertisement or sales circulars

If the sale in question has come and gone, it’s okay to get rid of the advertisement or circular.

Instructional books or manuals

These include instructional materials for items you no longer own, or programs or applications that are otherwise outdated.

Old business cards

If you know someone has changed companies, jobs, or has retired, you can shred and recycle the card.

Notebooks and journals

You may have a few notebooks or journals filled with material or information you no longer need or want. If this is the case, review, shred, and recycle as necessary.

Shopping lists

Last month’s grocery list probably won’t be of much help to you for this week’s shopping haul. It’s okay to let this go.

Sticky notes

If notes contain timely information that is no longer relevant (i.e. you jotted down a coffee shop name for your monthly get-together with your friend), you can let them go.


Holding onto an unneeded aged agenda or two from a past job, committee, or organization? You can let it go.


A timeline or work plan from a long-completed or abandoned personal project can be shredded and recycled.

Flyer, brochures, and promotional cards

If the item contains expired information, such as past dates, rates, or offers, you can recycle it.

To-do lists

To-do lists are snapshots in time. That being said, your current to-do list is probably much different from any of your older ones.

Movie, theater, sports, concert, exhibit ticket stubs

That ticket from that boring action/adventure movie you saw in the theater five weeks ago can be recycled.

Celebration items

These include items such as paper toys, ornaments, party favors, and other novelties. Again, these items have served their purpose, so you can let them go.

How about you? What other types of timely paper clutter come to mind? Will you use this list to declutter paper in your home? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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2 Responses

  1. Karen Hall

    If you’re careful not to include any staples, paperclips or plastic, your shredded paper can be useful one last time.
    I mixed mine with shavings to use as bedding in our cattle trailer and it worked perfectly. Could also be used as bedding in horse stalls.
    Also, I think I remember that cats who have been surgically de-clawed are not allowed to have regular cat litter in their litterbox for some days, and shredded paper is recommended as a substitute.
    So if you don’t have animals of your own, you could offer shredded paper to a local small animal veterinarian.

    • Rashelle

      That’s quite an idea, Karen! I wouldn’t have thought of that. Thanks for sharing.