One of the biggest contributors to clutter is PAPER. I know…I know…I love cute notebooks with sassy sayings and I hoard colored pens.
Paper clutter invades your space, drains your energy, and gives you extra work – more than you realize. How rude! So how can we drop all that paper in order to reduce stress? I’m going to give you some simple steps that will not only help you get rid of that clutter, it is going to save you time and your sanity.
So how do we get rid of the paper we don’t need?
Prevent paper from entering your house to begin with.
Remove yourself from junk mail lists.
I signed up with www.OptOutPrescreen.com in order to remove myself from all of those “You’ve been specially selected to pay us a very high-interest rate on this travel credit card” pre-screened credit card and insurance offers. There are two options, you can register online to remove yourself from the lists for five years, or you can mail a form in to permanently remove yourself from those lists. I get so much less junk mail now.
You can register with the Direct Marketing Association at www.DMAchoice.org and pay $2 to remove yourself from a lot of advertising lists. I have also used this service and noticed a significant decrease in my junk mail after a few months.
Like using any service I recommend you do your due diligence and make sure it is right for you and legitimate.
Here are a few articles that explain your options and the removal process in more detail:
Stopping Unsolicited Mail, Phone Calls, and Email by Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.
How to Cut Down on Unwanted Junk Mail by Whitson Gordon at the New York Times.
Sign up for paperless billing
Once you sign up for paperless billing you are going to want to organize your bills and bank statements so you can find them all in one place. Create a finance folder in your Gmail and create a filter that includes all of your bills. That way all of your finances will filter automatically into that folder. Or you can create a Gmail account specifically for bills and use that email address only when dealing with anything finance related.
Hold a funeral for your filing cabinet
If you have a filing cabinet – how many of those files do you actually need to keep? No, you don’t need to file away your electricity bill (I’m pep talking myself here). Consider consolidating down to a binder that only holds the paperwork you actually need to keep, like passports, marriage licenses, etc. This is also great because it is easy to grab in an emergency if you need to evacuate your home quickly.
Consider taking all of your notes on a computer or tablet.
There are so many free apps you can use to take notes. I personally like Google Docs and Evernote.
I suggest a tablet that supports a pen if you are like me and love to physically write things down. A few options would be an iPad, Surface Pro, or the ReMARKable tablet. They significantly reduce clutter and keep everything all in one place.
This is also great if you are like me and lose things easily. It is much easier to keep track of one thing vs 248 loose post-it notes and random pieces of paper with to-dos and great ideas sprinkled throughout the office, covering my entire desk, the floor, my house, my purse, under the seat in my car, and so on.
Don’t get me wrong though – I’m still a sucker for modified KanBan boards on my wall using color-coded post-it notes for certain projects.
You don’t have to take all of my suggestions. Even implementing just one of the tips will help you reduce paper clutter and that is less crap you have to sift through and organize – thus saving you time. Now go have some fun with that time you got back.
Did you find this useful? Don’t keep it a secret. I would love it if you would share it with a friend, colleague or loved one. It is the biggest compliment you can give me.