Before and After: A Family Heirloom Makeover Tames Paper Clutter for Good

published Jan 14, 2023
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Credit: Amy Abrams

Paper clutter can be a silent killer when it comes to your home organization. Just like that, a neglected single sheet of paper can morph into a paper pile nightmare within a few days.

But even if you’ve mastered the art of chucking junk mail into the recycling bin just as fast as it arrives, cleaning out your paper inbox regularly, or dealing with “action item” papers swiftly, no one is ever truly rid of paper clutter for good. Besides the fact that the tide of paper coming into your home is relentless, you also have to deal with the “long-term filing” papers, which are those you need to organize and keep on-hand.

While it makes sense to store or back up many of these items digitally, it’s still hard to get rid of all of physical copies and figure out how to store them, and where. Amy Abrams tackled her paper storage problems with a family heirloom and came up with a beautiful and functional solution.

“We had files in other filing drawers and many in stand up files all over the house,” says Amy of the frustration she felt having a paper system with no unity. This vintage armoire actually became the inspiration for Amy to come up with a unique way to unify her filing system. “I was inspired by the antique armoire and to repurpose it for our home filing system,” she says. She knew that having all of the family’s important papers in one place would be a game-changer, and it would breathe new life into an old, idle piece of furniture.

Credit: Amy Abrams

With a total budget of $350 and an afternoon to spare, Amy set out to with a goal to “consolidate and organize our home filing system into one location and utilize a beautiful family heirloom furniture piece.”

She tackled the project methodically. First, she determined what containers she’d need. Next, she removed the previous furniture and filing drawers. She created labels according to the types of files she had and labeled the containers. Finally, she placed the labeled containers alphabetically by categories that made sense for their home.

According to Amy, the hardest part of the project was purchasing the correct containers for the volume of files they had. She did her shopping at The Container Store, Home Goods, and Staples. The easiest part of the undertaking, surprisingly, was sorting the files by category and labeling accordingly.

Amy is thrilled with her new centralized paper filing system and the way it allowed her to put a family heirloom to good use. “The end result was more than worth the time and effort because the organization, function, and consolidation of all of this material was well worth it,” she says. The armoire’s interior is organization eye candy if I ever saw it.

Credit: Amy Abrams

If organized papers aren’t enough of an incentive for you, Amy lets us in one other unexpected benefit of such an enterprise: “It’s well worth the time and expense to tackle projects like this. The space it frees up is amazing.”

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: Before and After: A Family Heirloom Makeover Tames Paper Clutter for Good