During the month of October, I’m following along with Edie & Ruth on their 31 Days of Less & More journey. I’d love for you to join in by reading the posts and completing the projects, or just sit back and read along each day.
Less Paper Clutter
As you well know, I kind of despise clutter. Or, probably more accurately: I can’t stand clutter. And it’s no different when it comes to paper clutter. Here are some things that we’ve found to be helpful:
Adopt the No-Pile Rule — Except for my husband’s dresser, we try to strictly adhere to a no-pile rule. I’ve found that a small pile quickly grows—without any effort. If you don’t start a pile in the first place, you can avoid a lot of disorganization.
In the Door, In Its Place — Instead of collecting piles of paper around the house until you have time to deal with them, take care of them immediately. When mail or other papers come into our home, I go through them right then and there and throw out everything that we don’t have to keep. Then I put each item in its specific place. For instance, bills go on my husband’s dresser, magazines go in a basket in my office, freebies go in the household product stockpile closet, coupons in my coupon box, and junk mail in the trash.
Avoid clutter-collecting furniture — We don’t own furniture that tends to be obvious clutter hotspots. I’ve found that when there’s no place to collect piles, you are much less apt to make them.
Set up a special memorabilia storage space — I have two big storage containers with lids that I’ve designated specifically for storing mementos. Not only does this provide a place to put special cards or pictures that come in the mail, but it also keeps everything in one place and not overflowing into other parts of the house. When the bins start to get full, we go through them and pare things down a bit so that we can have more space.
Though not exactly paper clutter, emails are something that are taking over many people’s lives. Need some help taming the email monster? Read my post on How I Keep My Inbox to Fewer Than 5 Emails.
I have to tell you, I’m more a fan of trashing than filing. But I’d rather have a file than a pile. So here are some of the things that have helped me keep on top of paper clutter:
Create a Simple System — A system is only as good as it’s operator. Don’t over-complicate your filing system. Even just a few files in a file box can work. For more details on setting up a system for your important documents, check out the five-part series we ran last year on Organizing Your Important Documents.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out — Okay, so some people might disagree with me on this, but I think there is no reason to hang onto something “just in case.” Give yourself permission to just chuck it without guilt.
Use a Scanner — If you think you might need it later, scan the document and save it in a file so you’ll have it if you need it later. You can download an app for this or get a cheap scanner.