To prevent the most common causes of paper clutter, try these 6 tips to reduce the amount of paper you have. After, I will share with you a simple step-by-step guide to organize your paper piles.
1. Junk Mail
The less junk mail we receive, the less papers we need to handle and sort. There are some ways you can reduce the quantity of junk mail.
Most retailers that send out catalogs have a phone number you can call if you no longer want to receive them. If this sounds overwhelming, you can start by calling just two companies per week. You can also request to be removed from the mailing lists of charities and nonprofit agencies.
The Federal Trade Commission provides resources for removing yourself from some direct marketers and other companies who send unsolicited offers through the mail.
2. Throw Out Old Papers
If your excess papers are of the “this might be important” variety, find out which old documents you really need to keep. Unnecessary old records might not look like stereotypical clutter, but they take up precious space in your files.
If you’re holding on to papers because you’re worried about privacy, shredding is a great solution. Shred anything with identifying information beyond your name and address. This would include social security numbers, dates of birth, credit card offers, etc. Another option is you can hire a professional organizer. In some areas, you can also take papers to a bulk shredder on certain days. Google your town name plus “shredding” or “shred day” to see if that option is available.
4. Scan Documents
Determine If you need a paper copy of a document or If you can scan the information to store. Scan them and save them on your computer or an external drive. You can also store old photographs. There are also apps that use the camera on your smartphone as a scanner.
5. Pay Bills Online
If your papers are piling up because you have a lot of bills to pay, find out which of them can be dealt with online, and sign up for paperless billing whenever possible. You can also choose to receive some other types of records, like bank statements and receipts, in virtual form.
6. Designate a Place for Incoming Documents
Now if you are ready to tackle your paper piles, check out my simple Five Step-by-Step Tips to get your papers tamed. There is something about having a simple guide to follow that makes all the difference.
The hardest part for people is often times not knowing where to begin. With this guide it’s like you have a buddy right there with you guiding you through the paper piles!