Paper clutter is everywhere you turn. From daily walks to the mailbox & sifting through junk & bills, to your child’s school bag filled with assignments & projects. You look through your purse & what do you find? Countless balled up recipes & to-do lists. You decided to venture up in your attic for a nostalgic moment of looking through your own letters, cards, photographs & elementary school artwork that you swear could be framed. You try your best to organize the important documents in file folders & fireproof boxes. But you can’t seem to understand why in a digital world, you can’t just send it off to cyberspace. The sense of overwhelmingness seeps in & you can’t quite distinguish what needs to stay & what needs to go. I’m going to let you in on a few secrets. Here are 5 Ways To Combat Paper Clutter :
The Shredder Is Your Best Friend
I strongly advice everyone to invest in a well equipped shredder. It has changed the game of maintaining the vast consumption of papers. Not only is it time efficient, but it disposes them in a way that protects your identity. You don’t want to discard mail that has your address or important information plastered all over it. To prevent identity theft, shredding these unwanted papers into tiny bits is the way to go. Not to mention, the act is rather satisfying. I tend to keep a small “catch all” bin next to the shredder called the shred bin [ clever – i know ] & once the bin is filled, I spend some time shredding each piece of paper. I then place the shredded bits in recycling.
Digitize Digitize Digitize
I don’t necessarily digitize everything because I still like a proper paper trail. But it does allow me to save up storage space when I decide to do so. My computer & portable hard drives hold the majority of my photos & documents I want to refer to that may or may not be considered “fire proof box material”. How often you use the digital space is ultimately up to you. If you are looking to extremely downsize your life & feel less overwhelmed by physical clutter, the digital world has it’s benefits. Just be safe & protect your devices the best you can.
Find Organizational Methods That Work For You
Like I said, a paper trail is important to me. And some documents like marriage certificates, deeds to homes or your SS card may want to be stored accordingly. I personally love zip up filed folders, fire proof boxes with a lock & key as well as drawer systems with lock & key. The way you organize said documents is a personal preference. Be sure you are only saving what is necessary & letting go the rest. In another blog post, I can go more in depth on the types of paper clutter you can declutter from your homes.
Stay On Top of It
Paper clutter is a never ending cycle. And it’s important to stay on top of it & form a routine. As soon as I bring in the mail, I quickly scan it for obvious junk & place those pieces in the shred bin. Bills & other paperwork, I store in our office & go through that within the week depending on the deadlines. I keep my purse & car cleaned up regularly & discard any unwanted floating papers & receipts. And again, only keep the papers you truly need.
Unsubscribe From Unwanted Email Lists
I can’t tell you how much junk mail both digitally & snail mail I receive. Not only is it a waste of paper but it makes getting the mail seem far more daunting than it needs to be. If it’s possible, place all your bills on auto pay & unsubscribe from unwanted emails & catalogs. I can’t tell you how many trips to the post office I’ve made to simply get our address off shopping catalogues or college alumni advertisements. My goal is to make the contents of our snail mail to be as little as possible. And be sure to unsubscribe from unwanted email lists to make your inbox less overwhelming.
All in all, paper clutter is hands down my most daunting decluttering task. Keeping these tips in mind definitely help me keep a handle on it. And I hope this inspires you to combat paper clutter & downsize your space one piece at a time.