If you want to live a plainer lifestyle it is going to involve cutting back on things. One area that can get overwhelming is the paper clutter. Between the junk mail, magazine subscriptions, little notes scribbled to remind you to do something, and paper work from your child’s school, your house can become an overwhelming whirlwind of paper. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Why make the change:
Decluttering is a skill that you will learn with more practice just like any skill. In time you will be able to completely clear off a counter top filled with paper without even hesitating on what to do with each paper. It will become almost a normal instinct. In turn this will make your life smoother, and less stressful as you will not always view things drowning in paperwork.
How to make the change:
You are going to start with your pile of papers.
Toss any magazines, in reality you are not going to do anything with them. If you really wanted to save something, as you are reading it, rip out the recipe, or information and put it where it is needed.
Go through all mail. Quickly decide if it is junk mail–then pitch it, or a bill–then pay immediately, or something that requires your action—set in a folder specifically used for that.
- Look for ways to reduce your paper clutter. You can sign up online to stop receiving junk mail in your mailbox.
- Toss any junk mail immediately when receiving it.
- Sign up for electronic bill paying—no paperwork in the mail.
- Keep a filing cabinet for all necessary receipts and important paperwork that must be kept. Go through this once a year and weed out items that you no longer need.
- Scan items and get rid of your paper trail.
- Take photos of your child’s school and art work. You can make them a digital book when they get older.
You should set aside a day each week that you take care of your paperwork. If you are overwhelmingly taken by paper, then do this once a day until it is gone. If you are caught up then do this once a week. Whenever paper comes into the house, immediately decide what to do with it. Get rid of it, file immediately, or take action.
You can do what I did and go paperless for my notepad. This was something that was the greatest thing I ever made.
Here is a way to manage a large number of people’s paperwork by making clip boards.