Adventures in Wonderlab

Adventures in Wonderlab

Fun science adventures for all ages!

Spring Cleaning: How to Organize Papers and Books

Papers, Papers, Papers

One of the biggest headaches/sources of clutter in our household is paperwork. Papers, papers, everywhere! Mail, bills, sentimental items, children’s artwork, children’s schoolwork, etc.

To solve our paper problem, I made the office our official dumping ground for all paperwork. This worked well for the rest of the house, but I would find myself getting overwhelmed just walking into the office. Trying to get any work done in there was not necessarily peaceful or productive.

So, let the clean out begin!

The office “before/during” picture

First, I sorted all the papers – everywhere. I knew which piles were which – even the floor piles. For the papers that we needed to keep: 1. I have a filing cabinet for important documents (taxes, receipts, policies, etc.), and 2. Each child has a bin with their special artwork/schoolwork. I keep these bins in the office closet.

After I sorted through what needs to stay, and what needs to go, the paper shredder came into action. We shredded 2 entire bags of documents. Our own little Enron. Of course, unneeded papers can also be recycled whole, as long as there are no privacy issues.

My daughter found my name perfectly maintained after going through the shredder! Maybe we need a shredder upgrade…

Now my office is a happy place!

The office “after” picture

And, a side-by-side comparison, just for fun.

side by side comparison of office clean out


To wrap-up, we have 3 options to organize all the paperwork that comes into our home: 1. shredding and/or recycling, 2. children’s special bins, or 3. filing cabinet for important papers.


We have three general categories of books at our house: textbooks, children’s books, and adult fiction/nonfiction. For the most part, I do not believe we have an excess of books in our home. We store all of the textbooks and adult fiction/nonfiction in our office.

Text books

Nerd Book Zone

The children’s books are a bit more spread out – some are in my son’s bookshelf, some in my daughter’s bookshelf, and we have a bookshelf downstairs, as well. I am totally fine with an excess of children’s books! I want my kids to love reading and enjoy having their favorite books to read over and over again.

My daughter’s bookshelves – kept in her closet with *some* of her stuffed animal collection (sigh)

But, it was time to declutter some of the grown-up books. The books I was ready to part with consisted of easy-reading books I had purchased while traveling, cookbooks, and a couple of books we had in duplicate. They added up to five tote bags full of decluttered books! I took them over to a local used bookstore, 2nd & Charlesand traded them in for cash. You can also trade books in for a better deal as in-store credit, but I was determined not to purchase new items while I am the process of decluttering!

So, to sum it up, we have 2 options for organizing books: 1. Designate places for the books we love, and 2. Keep only the books that are meaningful to us, and either donate or sell the rest.

Interested in my other organizing solutions? Here are links to: Kitchen, Closet Clothing, Bathroom, Folded Clothing.


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