Organizing with Staples-Goodbye Paper Clutter!

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Favorite Products, Office Storage, Paper Clutter

For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about how to keep your “command center” free from clutter.

Even if you shred and recycle daily, there is still a certain amount of physical paper that you’ll want to hold onto. Some things are permanent keepers: ranging from tax documents, to your kids’ report cards, and that stuff needs somewhere (other than your kitchen table) to live.

Let’s face it, the days of storing all of your documents inside a traditional filing cabinet are long gone. Life in the 21st century is portable and your files should be too.

Staples Better Binder with Removable Rings is my go-to solution for keeping papers organized.

Staples(R) Better(R) Binder with Removable FileRings , Blue

They come in assorted colors with a label on the spine (a must-have for my fellow “Type-A-ers”.)

TIP: Assign a different color binder for each person and/or category. Use tabs or dividers to separate by year (ie: 2014, 2015…). Easy visual retrieval is key for saving time!

What about keeping multiple page documents organized?

Staples One-Touch Stapler requires 60% less effort than traditional desktop staplers! Say goodbye to bent staples that won’t pierce through your stack of papers. It also has a push button for easy staple loading.

One Touch Plus Black

The one-touch stapler is so easy to use you actually won’t mind organizing your papers!

TIP: Keep only the first few pages of a document that includes account numbers, balances, etc. Staple those important pages and shred the rest.

Organizing your workspace may never be glamorous, but with a little discipline and the right products it can be simple and stress-free.

Happy Organizing!

*This post is sponsored by Staples. All comments and opinions are my own.

Fall Organizing With Staples: Function At Your Fingertips

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Paper Clutter

Last week I kicked off our fall organizing series by focusing on products to help you, as the CEO of your home, reclaim control of your workspace. Keep in mind that regardless of whether your command center is behind closed door or at the kitchen table, we all have a central place where we are most productive.

This week I’m showcasing two products designed to keep your paper clutter under control once and for all!

Staples Space-Saver Cross-Cut Shredder is the ideal solution for small spaces. It’s so compact that it fits almost anywhere, allowing you to rid yourself of the piles of paper you have been waiting to shred.

Shredder Assortment

This little guy may be small, but don’t let size deceive you, it can shred 10 sheets at a time!

TIP: Place your shredder where you open your mail. The ease of having a shredder at your fingertips allows you to stop clutter from accumulating in the first place. You will be amazed at the amount of mail you can actually purge!

Staples Arc Customizable Leather Notebook is a must have for the person who still loves to take pen to paper! Keep track of everything from recipes, appointments, not to mention those endless to do lists.

Arc Black

I love that you can reposition pages as needed! The penholder is a nice detail and it’s small enough to fit into almost any purse or bag.

TIP: Create tabs for various “go-to” sections: Home, Work, Shopping, etc. No more having to page through an entire notebook to find what list or phone number you need. Talk about a time saver!

See you next week when I’ll wrap up our fall organizing series with my last 2 must-haves from Staples®. Until next week…

Happy Organizing!


*This post is sponsored by Staples. All comments and opinions are my own.

3 Tips to Conquering Paper Clutter

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Paper Clutter

I’m afraid of roller coasters.

So much so, that my family has basically forbidden me from joining them at amusement parks because I’m neurotic mess the entire time.

  • What if the roller coaster derails?”
  • What if you get ejected and plummet to a horrific death?”
  • What if the ride breaks at the top and you get stranded at the top for hours?

The chances of any of those things happening are slim, yet my own fears get in my way. Everyone has a fear of something: whether it’s the dark, heights, or even the unknown. What many people don’t realize is that paper clutter is often a result of fear. We hold onto outdated, unnecessary paperwork because we’re afraid of what might happen….

  • What if I need to reference that?”
  • What if someone finds my paperwork and tries to steal my identity”
  • What if I get audited?”

Fear, of any kind, impacts our lives-plain and simple.

I can avoid going on roller coasters, but you can’t avoid incoming mail. Over coming your fear (or at least learning some strategies of how to manage it) will help you from drowning in paper clutter.

Begin by asking yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Why am I holding onto this?
  2. When was the last time I looked at this?
  3. How easy would it be for me to get a copy if needed?

Fact: We keep more paper than we need. Back in the day, before everything was automated, it made sense to keep paper statements. If you needed to dispute a charge the only tracking method was a paper statement. Nowadays, we can access months (even years) of back statements with the click of a button, eliminating the need to hold onto the paper version.

Tip: Keep Year End Statements and shred the rest. Knowing what’s acceptable to shred will make the process less fearful. For example, there is no need to keep monthly statements for every bill you pay. Once you issue payment, you can shred the bill/statement. Your check (or EFT) is traceable if you ever needed proof of payment.

I use Staples® Mailmate M7 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder ($89.99).


Why I love it: It’s a compact Desktop Shredder that can sit next to a printer, or below a desk. It features jam protection for smooth performance and can shred up to 12 sheets of paper at one time. It also shreds credit cards, CD’s and DVDs!

How I use it: I keep it right near my command center in my kitchen so when I open the mail I can easily shred junk mail that I don’t want. Once I pay my bills, the paper statements get tossed into the shredder saving me hours of time that I used to spend filing papers that never got looked at again!

If you want something a bit more substantial, but don’t have a lot of room to spare, then you may want to consider Staples® Space-Saver 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder . ($149.99)


Why I love it: It’s Ideal for tight workspaces, the extra-compact shredder is made for a small space, features a hassle-free paper feed, and also cuts through staples and credit cards.

If you have a lot of paper that gets shred often, then I recommend Staples ® 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder ($149.99)


Why I love it: In addition to shredding everything from paper to credit cards, it shreds documents twice as fast as traditional shredders saving you hours of time.

Papers lying around your house are an invitation to trouble. In addition to the clutter factor, many bills and statements contain personal information that you wouldn’t want to get out. Staples® makes disposing of these papers as easy as a pressing a button.

If you’re still unsure of what papers you need to keep, just refer to this guide.

10 Things to Keep Permanently:

  1. Birth and death certificates
  2. Social security cards
  3. Pension/Retirement plan documents
  4. ID cards and passports
  5. Marriage license/Divorce papers
  6. Business license
  7. Medical Records
  8. Wills, living wills, and powers of attorney
  9. Vehicle titles and loan documents
  10. House deeds and mortgage documents

5 Things to Keep Temporarily (then shred!):

  1. Tax records and receipts (keep for seven years)
  2. Home purchase, sale, or improvement documents (keep for at least six years after you sell)
  3. Social security statements (until you get an updated copy)
  4. Annual insurance policy documents (replace with updated copy and shred once the dates expire)
  5. Retirement plan statements (401(k), 529, IRA, etc) (once you receive year end statements you can shred the previous months)

If what your holding onto is not on this list, chances are it’s safe to shred. Sometimes all we need is the permission to let things go.

Happy Organizing!


4 Products To Keep Your Papers Organized

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Office Storage, Paper Clutter

“I love paper clutter!” SAID NO ONE EVER.

Mail, statements, school papers, household projects, medical records… just a few of the things that infiltrate our counters on a daily basis.

There are a few things less frustrating than looking for “said paper” only to have it vanish into a black hole of clutter.

This time of year we are inundated with tax papers, which can make keeping track of everything seem like a part-time job. It should come as no surprise that stress levels run particularly high this time of year with April 15th just around the corner.

Imagine a world where all your tax documents for the year were compiled in one place. No scrambling to find your donation receipts, HUD-1 statement, year end records, plus all of the miscellaneous items required by good old Uncle Sam.

As someone who runs a business and manages a household I know the value of finding what I need quickly. I don’t have hours to waste searching for paper, and neither do you.

Establishing a system to streamline and organize the hundreds of pieces of paper that enter your home on an annual basis can mean the difference between feeling like you should be on an episode of hoarders and well…keeping your sanity.

It’s the combination of a good system and the right products that allow you to not just get organized, but STAY organized.

It should come as no surprise that Staples is on my list of happy places. Walking inside instantly makes me feel more productive. At the same time, it can be overwhelming to walk in and not know what to buy.

Below are some of my favorite Staples ® products along with a step-by-step guide on how I use them on a daily basis.

staples better binder

1. The Staples® Better Binder ® With Removable FileRings™ is the easiest way to corral all of your paperwork in one central place. They come in an assortment of colors, which is great if you like to color code. (I have a separate binder color for everyone in my family plus household documents which makes grabbing what I need super easy.)

The removable rings are a brilliant perk to these binders. They are a huge space saver and make filing a snap. Each D-ring holds up to 275 piece of paper and comes with a label for easy identification.




staples better dividers2. The Staples® Better® Dividers allow you to keep categories separated (I.e.: investments, donations, household, employers, receipts, etc.). As important papers come in, I know exactly where to put them, which prevents me from creating one big mound of paper clutter.







sheet protectors

3.Staples® Standard Sheet Protectors are a game changer for me. I store blank sheet protectors inside of each divider category. As soon as an important document arrives in the mail, I automatically place it inside a sheet protector (within the appropriate tab) which makes for instant organization.







3-hole punch


4. The other option is to use Staples® Adjustable Hole Punch, which can accommodate up to 10 Sheets of paper at one time, yet it’s narrow enough to store easily .







What I love most about Staples ® Better ® products is that they affordable and functional. Details like interchangeable labels and reinforced covers are what make them my go-to products above other brands.

Having the freedom to spend less time in the office is important to me.  Using these products allows you to be productive and still have time to get outside to enjoy the first breaths of Spring.

Happy Organizing!


Defining a Homework Hub

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Kids Organization, Paper Clutter, Published Works

This segment originally aired last September, where I introduced the importance of establishing a “Homework Hub” on wfmz. People are always asking me what to do with kids school books, supplies and on-going projects. The first thing I ask is if they have a “homework hub”.

A “Homework Hub” is a designated area where your child stores his/her school supplies so they have everything in a specific space.

For us, it made the most sense to use our breakfast bar in our kitchen as the girls’ hub. There is plenty of room for them to spread out to do their work, they have a designated area to store their supplies and best of all  I am literally 5 feet away. It enabled me to easily prepare dinner, check email, while allowing them ask me questions about their homework or  engage in a conversation about their day.

Most importantly, it created a routine They quickly learned where to go when they came home, and what to do. They had everything they needed within reach so that they could work independently.

What items should you keep in your “Homework Hub”?

Depending on the age(s) of your children the list will vary, however below are some staple items that I recommend having on hand at all times:

  • pencils
  • sharpeners
  • erasers
  • ruler
  • calculator
  • flash drive
  • scissors
  • glue/glue stick
  • compass
  • protractor
  • extra notebooks and loose leaf paper
  • construction paper
  • crayons
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • any other supplies your child uses on a regular basis  

Note: No two Homework Hubs look alike. You need to factor the needs of your kids, your designated space and your daily habits. The importance is to establish a system that works for your family.

The purpose of the “Homework Hub” is to help foster independence, improve time management and reduce unnecessary stress, anxiety and frustration for both parents and kids.

Happy Organizing!