Simplify For Fall: Paper Clutter & Budgets

I’m following along with the Life Your Way Simplify for Fall Challenge. Six days, six areas of the home to simplify. I’ll be sharing my progress here as I complete each day. Here’s what I’ve already tackled: clothing & laundry room, toys, kitchen and meal planning and bedrooms and bathrooms.

Well this is embarrassing.

I let things slide for a bit and this is what we have.

Blaming pregnancy. It’s terrible for paper work.

At least half the stack is notices and information leaflets from the hospital. Every test result, ultrasound booking and OB appointment is confirmed with a letter in the mail. Almost every appointment has seen me leave with 1-3 brochures or leaflets in hand.

Paper Clutter: My Nemesis

As I am posting this a few days late I will have to come clean that this project was moved off our dining table not once, but twice, in the last three days.

Which is sad because actually getting it all sorted only took an hour and half. Every time I started the task I got pulled away to do something else. Or, uh, I guess I let myself get pulled away to another task.

Sorting Paper Clutter

You can see my system above. Nothing fancy.

Our little accordion file box is getting mighty full so I emptied and sorted it as well. Pulled a few things out that could be shredded and found one gem worth $350.

We purchased new appliances for our Vancouver home almost three years ago and I got talked into a three year extended warranty on all three appliances. One of the perks to the warranty was that if you never use you can get the equivalent dollar value back in Sears gift cards.

Just put a reminder in my calendar to make a call in late October for our gift cards. Gift cards that I will probably flip into cash.


We use a reverse budget and it serves us well. You can read about it here.

Cutting Back on Travel

Two months ago we reduced our monthly contribution to our travel account by a third.

We’re heading into a year of a lot of time at home (no air travel in late pregnancy and then a newborn) and we’d like to use it as a chance to save more. Our travel account will still grow, albeit not as quickly, in this year of less travel.

Budgeting for a New Baby

We do have a few things to buy for this new baby. Co-sleeper crib, infant car seat and infant cloth diapers. We should be able to buy them between October and January out of our monthly budget.

We’ll also have a few expenses when the new baby arrives. Chris will take a week of paternity leave and one week unpaid meaning a loss of income. I’d like to hire weekly cleaners for the first six weeks after the baby arrives. Less spending on nice-to-haves/do and Chris’s baby bonus from his employer should cover all of it.

Stuck on paper clutter?

Paper clutter seems to be a lot of people’s nemesis. Mine included.

You can read about some of our efforts to reduce the amount of paper coming into our home and the epic sorting, scanning, shredding, recycling and filing we did in the following posts.

Going Paperless

How to Reduce Paper Clutter

Has anyone else been following along with Mandi on this challenge? She set a blistering pace last week and even with a head start I couldn’t keep up.

Tomorrow: Routines & Schedules

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    • Yep. Pretty sweet perk from his employer. Should be more than enough for cleaners and to cover lost income for a week.
      Although now my husband is telling me he might just take vacation days. Which would be fantastic. Maybe we can keep weekly cleaners even longer…

  • I love a good paper sort out. I try and do it every two weeks to coincide when our recycling bin is collected. We’re also keeping a close eye on our finances as I’ll officially leave work on April 30 (when my maternity leave finishes). It means I’ll have to think a little more about what”s really essential … but I have decided that a cleaner every two weeks most definitely is!

    • There seems to be this taboo around having a cleaner. That it means you’re lazy or never clean.
      We’ve used cleaners occasionally and I have to say, even when we had every other week service for a few months when Henry was born, if you are at home with children you still clean a lot. Floors still need to be cleaned often, food still spills multiple times a day and there are always, always, dishes to be done.

  • It’s lovely to prepare for a new baby! All I say is the more help you can get the better. :)

    We simplified our paper clutter in a way that we have a zipbag each for personal stuff like passport, degrees, birthcert, car ownership paper, marriage cert. etc, Apart from that we have a folder for each year, and whatever letter, tax form, important receipt, insurance paper etc we get, its automatically put into The Folder. :)

    We’re preparing my DH’s last year of law-school. Until next June I need to be ultra-organised. Essentially, I’ll be a single mum working part time and also studying. So I have my 4-week menu plan, I’ll order food online, I wrote up a household routine with set times to do washing, ironing, hoovering, dinner, play-date, swimming, etc. Normally I am a fairly liberal mum, but over the next 8-9 months we’ll have to stick to a strict schedule.

  • Paper clutter is our worst nemesis too.. DH likes to keep a lot of stuff in case it is needed, and it just seems so arduous to deal with it. It’s the thing that I will save for last whenever I have any organizing to do. That being said, my papers are in one folder, DH’s is in a jumble in his closet :/

    What is super annoying now is that we have all this paperwork from the moldy apartment, it’s in plastic bags in the storage. We can’t just throw it out, and dealing with it will give us symptoms.. I know we need to handle that stuff eventually. Sigh. I think we need to scan everything that has to be kept and it will take at least one whole day…

  • You are so smart to budget for a cleaner! I had 4 babies in 6 years, no family for 1500 miles, and a hubby who could only take a day or two off work each time. Ugh. I wish family had spent their money hiring me a cleaning service instead of cute clothes that sometimes never got worn…

  • I know this is a tad bit off topic and has the danger of spinning into a political rant, but when you were talking about budgeting for the new baby, all I kept thinking was “She’s leaving out the biggest expense, health insurance and medical costs.” Then I remembered – you live in a sane country.

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