Paper Pile Giveaway

Congrats to the winner of Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave. She is: Kristina; timestamp 11:51 pm on January 5th. Send your home address to me at [email protected] right away!



It piles.

It perturbs.

It is a problem!

Is there any aspect of trying to maintain a clean home that is more unnerving??

Sure the kitchen may get messy.

So what!!

We can always clean it up again, wiping and scrubbing until the counter is clean, the dishes are done and the pots and pans back in their rightful place.

If we want to keep it that way for a while, we need only to eat a meal or two out of have paper actually be our friend (in the form of  plates on which to dine!!)

But with paper it is a whole different ballgame.

While we may be able to spend an afternoon sorting, purging and pitching our piles of paper leaving only the needed ones in our abode, it is only a temporary fix. No sooner have we tossed our piles into the trash (or recycle bin) than a whole new batch enters our home.

They come at us from all directions.

The newspaper arrives.

The mail gets delivered.

The kids return home from school or an extra-curricular activity.

Because we aren’t always sure what to do with this stuff, we end up placing it neatly in a pile.

Oh, come on! Do neat piles actually exist? I’m not sure I ever seen one.

Okay, maybe I’ve seen a few, but they didn’t stay neat for long. As soon as someone was in need of a paper they thought might be hiding in said pile, they rifled through it and left it a complete mess.

And what do the neat piles do to us women?

They shout, “Failure, failure, failure!! Why look at you mom! You can’t even make a decision. You don’t know where to put us so you just choose any horizontal surface within a three foot radius and plop us down.  Incompetent woman! Can’t you even take care of the paper in your home, for crying out loud!!”

Okay, so maybe I’ve never actually had a pile talk to me like an apple tree on the way to Oz, but I have had that exact line of thought run through my brain.

Piles make me feel defeated. They remind me that I was not on top of the ballgame.

I didn’t have a plan for those papers, so there they sit, a stack of unmade decisions I put off until another time.

They are the culmination of the “for now”s in my life.

You know, “I’ll set this mail here, for now. I’ll put these papers on the counter for now. I really don’t have time to think about what to do with these clothes, shoes, toys, store items. Etc… I’ll just lay them here for now.

Gals, the phrase for now is derailing our organizational train!

Well, since January is a time for all things resolution-y, I’m sure many of you have made a goal that has to do with getting more organized around your place.

Maybe with your time.

Or with your cleaning & clutter.

Or your grocery shopping & meal planning.

Perhaps even with your paper piles!

Here’s a little giveaway to help boost your moral. It includes:

~A periwinkle (one of my favorite colors!) three-ring binder.

~A set of whimsical tab dividers for the binder.

~A sturdy vinyl folder with many inside pockets for organizing fliers & such.

~ A set of colorful push pins.

~A set of matching jumbo paper clips.

~A set of push clips for a bulletin board that hold coupons & such right where you can see them.

~A pocket 2011 calendar and matching notepad.

~Some totally fun, swirly-patterned, comfy-grip mechanical pencils. ( I always do my calendar in pencil since things may change & a I HATE a messy looking calendar!)

~An undated desk-size, week-at-a-glance planner pad to map out your days.

~Finally, a personalized copy of my book The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized.

To enter the giveaway you must leave a comment on this post sometime between now & Monday morning at 7:00 am when the winner will be chosen and announced.


Tell us what aspect of paper causes you the most trouble….


Give us a solution for any aspect of paper problems.

Now, if time is tight or you are simply drowning in paper at the moment and as a result your brain won’t work, simply say, “I’m in!” Drawing is random. :-)

I’ll try to hop on over the weekend and share a few of my paper tips with you too. (NOTE: I have done this in the fourth page of the comments giving directions for how to assemble a Brain in a Binder that will house your papers. Click on the comments & then scroll down to see :-))

Now…get tackling those piles girlfriends!!!!

Pile-busting Blessings,


  1. I have a binder that I have set up but I still have piles. I don’t think it is as effective as it could be. I’m a project person, so I have piles of recipes, patterns, quilt magazines, catalogs,stuff that I think I will use someday. And I feel guilty when I see the piles and realize what all I haven’t done yet. So I purpose to tackle it “tomorrow”, which doesn’t come. I’m amazed at how many of the comments are just like me. Maybe this year will be better.

  2. The paper pile from homeschooling is my monster. I have to save everything and more is constantly being generated. Also, receipts are a constant clutter.

  3. My biggest paper problem comes from a home business that is my husbands but I help with his paperwork. I have a hard time organizing everything all of the time. It seems to just pile up again and again.

  4. Okay ladies….I have a break now to jump on for a few minutes. Here is a tool that I came up with that has saved many a headache at our house and has helped me to keep up on my piles of paper.

    It is what my family & I like to call my “brain in a binder”. This tool has enabled me to greatly reduce the refrigerator clutter at our house. It is a folder designed to hold your short term files, keeping them at your finger tips for those times you need to refer to them.

    I have known many women who have used various folder systems to keep their papers is one place. After much trial and error, here’s how I like to keep mine. (Don’t let this idea hem you in. Modify it. Tweak it. Make it your own. The point is to get those annoying papers off of the fridge!!!)

    First, choose a one or one and a half inch binder. I think it is fun to have one that has a clear plastic cover designed to hold an 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of paper. You can make a collage of pictures of your family to slip down in that slot. (This, ladies, is the extent of my scrapbooking efforts. I simply stink at it! But make one cute page? Well that I can handle!)

    Next place in the front one or more clear page protectors. You may use these sheets to place any of the following you wish.
    • Your mission statement as a woman, wife or mom
    • Some quotes or Bible verses that help you keep your eternal perspective
    • Any routines or weekly plans you may have (Monday is laundry; Tuesday is menu planning & shopping; Wednesday is laundry & weekly cleaning; etc…)
    Some gals like to purchase 8 ½ X 11 inch calendar pages from an office supply store and put these in the front as well. In this way, this binder would serve as your calendar as well.
    Maybe you want to add an address book, or a three-hole punched notepad, whatever goes! Just make this tool work for you, keeping you on top of things and helping to alleviate those dreadful piles!

    Behind these, place as many three hole punched folders that you need. (I like to use sturdy, vinyl ones) Label them with a computer label or peel and stick name tag. I have one that says “mom”, one that says “dad”, three more- each with a different child’s name on it and one that says “speaking”. In these I slip fliers, invitations, emails, maps, class lists, team rosters, sports schedules, directions to women’s groups I am speaking at, etc…. Any papers I may need to refer to at some point in the near future. They all go into the folders, divided according to whose activity it relates to.

    These folders help me to keep organized in several ways. First, they alleviate the constant clutter on my fridge front. All of the papers are still nearby. I can get to them when I need them. But they no longer make my refrigerator door look messy. I don’t insist on a bare fridge door but I’d rather see some of my kid’s artwork or photos of family and friends. Even an occasional recipe to try or funny quote is fine, but I don’t like a kaleidoscope of colored activity fliers screaming at me and falling off when I open the fridge door..

    Secondly, these folders help my calendar stay looking neater. How so? Well, instead of trying to squeeze in all of the info about particular event, say a baby shower, like the time it starts, the address, driving directions, RSVP phone number and stores where mom and baby are registered, I can simply write the event and time on the proper square on my calendar. Then I put the actual invitation in the folder labeled mom. When it is time to shop for a gift or to drive to the shower, all I need to do is grab my “brain in a binder” and retrieve the invitation to read any info I might need to know.

    I can also transfer all of the dates from the various schedules that come my way- sports, school, church etc… onto our family wall calendar or my own personal planner. Some moms color code their kid’s activities- blue for family; red for Emily; green for Austin; etc… I am not that detailed. I actually prefer to write in my planner and on my wall calendar in pencil. That way if plans change, it doesn’t end up looking so nasty if you have to change them on the page.

    This tool also helps to reduce parental headaches. If it is my turn to make treats for my boy’s homeschool co-op class on a Thursday, I can simply turn to the proper folder to see how many students are in the class. If my ride suddenly falls through for baseball practice, I can easily flip to my son’s folder, pull out the team roster and call another parent to see if he can carpool with them that night.

    My kids also love this folder. If they need to know any information about one of their clubs, sports or organizations, they can grab the binder and look up the needed paper. But they know the two most important rules. PUT THE PAPER BACK IN THE PROPER FOLDER ONCE YOU HAVE LOOKED AT IT AND NO ONE REMOVES MOM’S BINDER FROM HER DESK TOP!!! This directive is to be strictly adhered to!

    This “brain in a binder” doesn’t need much upkeep. It usually is pretty good at weeding itself out. When an event is over, toss the invitation in the trash. Is it the end of a season? Pitch the papers for the sports that are now through.

    Clear enough? I really encourage you to try this idea at least for a few months. As I said, it is not hard to throw together. It is actually kind of fun. Why you could even have an Amazon Women night and you and a few friends could go out for coffee to brainstorm, make a trip to the office supply store and then swing by the grocers to get a few snacks before heading to someone’s house to assemble your ‘brains’! Don’t forget to bring along some pictures of your clan and a few scrapbooking supplies to make a clever cover for the front (and back, if you wish!) Perhaps you will want to add even more to your brain in a binder. That’s great!! Customize it in a way that works for you.

    Happy pile-busting!!!

    Karen :-)

  5. Papers…stuff…it’s everywhere in my 800 sq foot home along with my children! :) Life has done a 180 and I struggle to keep up. I really need some major organizational tools! I also signed up for the Made to Crave Bible study. I can’t wait!

  6. I have a file folder for each child and one labeled ‘school’. Any papers that I need to keep pertaining to each child go into that folder, any general school papers go into the school folder. Backpacks get cleaned out every day and filed appropriately or signed and returned. It’s easier now that 2 of my kids are in high school, but I’ve been following this practice for over 10 years… I also color code my calendar for each child’s activity-too bad my file folder colors don’t match my calendar colors!

  7. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that despises these endless piles. My husband comes home and wonders why I just can’t get rid of them and that makes me even crankier. My biggest mistake is that I feel I need to read everything that enters my home. That is going to be my goal for this year; to simply let some things get tossed before reading them and then not feeling guilty about it :-)

  8. magazines and catalogs have taken over the end table in my living room and there are piles more hiding in the storage ottoman!

  9. The mail is my biggest paper clutter and it always finds it way to my kitchen table. Last night I looked and couldn’t even see the kitchen table!

  10. All our mail goes in the mailbox. The kids bring it in and that’s where they’re supposed to put it so bills don’t get misplaced. Unfortunately, after a couple of days it is sooo full that I just dread going through it!

  11. Happy Weekend ladies! I’m headed to my son’s basketball game this morning near Detroit. While he and his brother hang out at a friend’s house after the game, the hubster & I are going on an afternoon date, which he promised could include a bookstore/coffee house stop so I can hop on and give a few paper pile-busting tips.

    In the mean time….keep give your ideas and dilemmas. I’m loving reading them and hope to give some solutions. :-)

    I love my cyber friends!!!!

  12. Wow…I have papers everywhere. The end of the kitchen bar is a catch all that is eventually moved to over the computer desk or into a storage box (for the kids schoolwork). I do my husband’s taxes (he’s self-employed) and those papers are the worst!

  13. Oh my goodness, I felt like you stepped into my kitchen when I started reading this. I was lamenting internally (because anything else would be whining…) that I’ve been trying to come up with a system to tame that paper beast… the minute I have it tamed, the mail comes, my son comes home from school or my hubby brings more (or shuffles what I have). I was beating myself up for not being in control. Thanks for keeping it real and for a great giveaway! Be blessed!

  14. The “neat pile” never seems to go away at my house..on the kitchen counter, at my desk and bedside. My problems seems to be that I re-arrange and move locations of the papers I keep for future ref.or project..then can never find them. I really need HElP. Thanks for the chance to win your goodies.

  15. Magazines are my most problem-causing paper product! We get so many magazines in the mail, wanted ones and unwanted ones. It drives me crazy that when you order something online, the company automatically sends you magazines for the next five years!!!!

  16. Clutter, in any form, has been a life-long challenge for me! Then, throw a family into the mix and the piles turn into mounds, which give way to mountains! You should see my desk!!!! One morning this week I started trying to sort the piles so I could see the surface–now there are piles surrounding the desk on the floor and I still can’t see wood!! Maybe since I’m up so early on a Sat. morning and our son’s basketball game isn’t til 9:00, I should go make some more progress–nah, I vote for making coffee instead.

  17. I always open my mail next to the garbage pail! Some days I even stop by my outside pails as I walk back from the mailbox and just dump the junk in the pail before I even enter the house!
    I love to keep recipes and I keep them in file folders marked Meats to try, desserts to try, soups to try…that way the papers are not all over the place and when I want to try a new recipe I just pull out the folders and pick one.

  18. if you saw my dining area and bedroom you wouldnt have to ask…. paper clutter surrounds me like its part of the linens.. I spend alot of time in bed due to life threatening illness, and books, papers, product reviews, surrounding me as a constant bedfellow. So each morning and evening I have to get up, rearrange, and move piles and sort thru a few things so i can rest, or so I can work online… my computer is having major probs, as is my printer, so i cant just scan things into an online folder as I would prefer .Can You Please help !! What I think I really need is a system.
    cathy b

  19. paper clutter is my problem. One of the solutions I do have though is opening the mail in front of recycling bin. That way I can sort through mail and toss all the “junk” mail away, shred what needs to be shredded and finally save what I actually do need.

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