How to Eliminate Paper Clutter

Posted on: June 26, 2014

It’s the future—aren’t we supposed to be paperless by now? This may be an odd observation for a shredding company to make. After all, our livelihood depends on an abundance of paperwork. But really, why are so many of us still struggling with paper piles? And how can we be rid of them?

Tips for Eliminating Paper Clutter

  1. Don’t make piles in the first place – This one seems obvious, maybe even a little ridiculous. But if you can get behind it, you will be rewarded with a well-deserved sense of superiority. To stop the paper crisis before it happens, deal with mail, bills, school paperwork, and all other paper invaders as soon as they come in the door.
  2. Create action stacks and file-aways – An “action stack” contains the paperwork you need to deal with right then and there. The “file-aways” are papers that you are going to put away where they belong—ASAP.
  3. Eliminate magazines – Instead of keeping stacks of magazines because you want to keep recipes, project ideas, and product names, make an effort to CFT: clip, file, toss. Clip out the pages you need, file them in a folder or binder and toss the magazine. The same goes for newspapers. Even better: cancel your print subscription and go digital.
  4. Once a week, do a quick file and de-clutter – This is when you take care of any papers that have managed to pile up despite your newfound diligence. Mark your calendar, set an alert on your phone, do SOMETHING that will help you remember this simple once-a-week maintenance task.

Serious Paper Purging

Got paperless fever? Go extreme! Buy a scanner and you’ll eliminate even more paper.  With a scanner, you will always have digital copies of any documents you need (be sure to back up your scanned files).

And you don’t even have to buy a full-size scanner, which can be pricey. There are several apps that will scan documents via your phone or tablet. Google offers scanning capabilities through its Drive application.

Documents you can scan:

  • Explanations of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company (general guideline is to keep them for one year).
  • Receipts, especially ones you need in order to get reimbursed.
  • Web documents – instead of downloading and printing them, turn them into PDFs and then scan them.
  • Your signature – digitize your signature and you’ll drastically reduce the number of documents you need to print.

Au Revoir, Monstre Papier!

So there you have it. Apply a little elbow grease around the house, start digitizing your docs, and pretty soon you’ll forget what that flat white stuff even looks like. And if you’ve got any left over, get in touch.

 

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