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Jury duty forms. School trip permission slips. Insurance documents. Even though much of today’s paperwork is digital, it still piles up. And if your household is like many families’, your document organisation might amount to a pile on the kitchen counter or an overstuffed manila folder stashed in a file cabinet.

But there is a way out of the perpetual chaos: Taking steps to organise the paperwork in your home can not only save time in the long run, it makes everyone in the family happier. 

Try these tips for spending less time managing all those piles and more time doing, well, anything but managing all those piles.

Reduce and relax

Chances are you know someone who’s spent a weekend rolling their socks into tiny balls and saying “thank you” as they eliminate unused items. Marie Kondo’s 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and subsequent Netflix series have motivated people around the world to pare down their wardrobes and belongings, jettisoning those that don’t “spark joy.” (Thrift stores report being inundated with new donations following the book’s popularity.) 

An organized home has obvious appeal, but there might be one key reason Kondo’s book has sold over seven million copies so far: A clean space can bring much-needed peace to the household. 

If you can quickly locate your cousin’s wedding invitation or your kids’ homework in a file folder instead of fumbling through stacks of unopened mail and other documents, you’ll save a ton of time. Being organised can also save you money — imagine never losing a treasure trove of coupons or misplacing a gift card. 

So how can you get started? Try these tips for getting — and staying — organised at home.