Now is a great time of the year to gain control of your paper monster at home or in your office. Do it now before the end of the year arrives with all that it brings. New technologies were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we create but I’ll bet if you are anything like me you haven’t seen a decrease in the amount of paper that comes in your home or that you generate.
Follow these steps to control your paper monster in your home or office.
Gather it all up
Get all the papers together. Check all of your drawers, coat pockets, desks, bags or piles you have lying around in your home or office and put it all in one place. If you have already filed a lot of paper away that’s great. We are just talking about all the papers that you have lying around.
Can you define what you really need to keep?
Now separate this big pile into two piles. One pile for what you need and one for what you don’t need. It may seem like common sense and easy to do but many of you hang on to paper for many reasons. “I may need to refer to it”, “maybe I need to return it” are reasons I hear a lot.
Take a good hard look at each piece of paper and put it into the appropriate pile. Anything in your discard pile should be shredded just to be on the safe side.
Receipts are a major source of paper clutter in many homes. If you have purchased a piece of clothing and it fits or you have consumed a food item then you don’t need to hang on to the receipt unless you need it for tax purposes.
Speaking of which, anything you need for tax purposes should be filed in your tax file right away. When you get home take the receipts out of your coat, pocket or wallet and slide it into your current year tax file for your accountant to deal with next year.
Which filing system is best for you?
Now you can divide your keep pile into categories. There are many different ways to file paper but I personally like to file them according to the type of paper that they are. For instance, I have a Utilities section where I have created files for cable TV, hydro, etc. I have an Employment section where I have opened a file for every member of the household to put their pay slips, reviews or anything else employment related. I prefer this method as you can zero in on the category and have fewer files to go through to find what you need.
Label your files clearly and ensure you have enough room so you are not jamming the paper into your file folders. Your files should move freely in your drawer.
Assign a space for new paper
In order to keep your home free of paper clutter, assign a place for all paper and mail to be placed upon arrival into the home. This can be a small tray, bowl, basket or anything you like.
Stay on top of it
As you file your monthly statements or bills away you may want to discard the oldest one so that only the last 6 months are always on hand. Don’t forget to put discarded papers through the shredder for privacy.
Paper clutter is a common sight in many homes and a major contributor to clutter everywhere. Don’t let the paper monster get a hold of you. Contact ClutterBGone to see why we love attacking the paper monster.