How to declutter paper - permanently


As a mum of 3 school age kids, I find myself surrounded in lose papers - everywhere! A notice for an excursion here, the latest newsletter there, and then on top of all of that all the artwork that the kids bring home.

Sometimes it can feel like you are drowning in papers. Surrounded in all sorts and shades. 

How to purge paper clutter for good

Paperwork on top of the fridge, microwave, spread across the dining room table, corners in the lounge and living areas and then of course there's the desk! I even find it quite annoying having to return papers to the school, they get lost among it all and then they end up late, if returned at all!

I've been searching for the best tips to get rid of paper piles and be more organised!

Some of them I have done myself, and others I will be doing this month.

PAPERLESS BILLING

First things first, stop the future paper where you can! Organise to have your bills emailed to you! If you really need to have a copy of it, you can then print it yourself at home. More often than not though, having the PDF version is more than enough.

Do the same for your banking, get your statements emailed to you rather than sent in the post. Again, if you ever need a hard copy, you can print it then!

Sign up for paperless billing

PURGE PAPER

Now that you've stopped future paper its time to deal with what you've got. This is probably the most intimidating part of the process because, while you think you don't have that much, you certainly find out otherwise.

Clear your desk, the top of the fridge and even that drawer you think nobody knows about. All of it. Pop it all together in one spot and sort it! Don't worry if it mixes business and personal, school and bills - put it all together and the sort it into these 4 piles.

Purge paper by filing it correctly
Deal with it - File it - Scrap it - Chuck it
Deal with it
This pile is for any items that need actioning. Whether its need to be filled in, paid or updated - it goes in this pile.
File it
This paper pile is for items that have been actioned but you need/want to keep, for reference, and for important documents that you need to keep on hand. Insurances, contracts, birth certificates etc.
Scrap it
This pile is reserved for items you want to keep for memories and keepsakes. Whether you choose to scrapbook these items, pop them in a memory box or even a show box with a label. It's the artwork and all that stuff that you know one day, you want to show the kids.
Chuck it 
If it doesn't fit the other 3 piles, its generally pretty good to go into this one. Don't worry thought, if you really feel the need to, you can scan it first (there are some great apps on your phone now).

SCAN STUFF

If you're wanting to have a minimalist approach to paper you can even level it up and scan everything! Ok, not your birth certificates and passports etc, but all the other stuff.

Scan it all and file it on a hard drive or USB. Just make sure whatever you do, keep it safe and/or back it up!

STORE IT

Now that you have your piles you can use whatever storing method you would like, for said piles. It might be an expandable filer, a plastic tub with dividers, a filing cabinet... heck it can be shoe boxes. Whatever works for you! 

How to purge paper forever

ONE TOUCH

Now there is only one thing left. It's something that I 100% need to do better. Use the One Touch method any time your hot little hands touch paper. Even snail mail and even all the kids school stuff.

You have your boxes (if that's what you chose) for your piles (deal with it, store it and scrap it) and the 4th box is the bin (or shredder).

But what does the one touch method actually mean, and what does it look like for you?

In a nutshell, deal with it as soon as you touch it.

Don't get the mail from the letter box, to then move it to the front stand, that then gets moved to the coffee table and... well I think you get my drift. 

Once you get it in those hands, put it where it now goes! 

If you need to fill it in and get it back to the school, it goes into your deal with it box/container/envelope. 

If its another pretty picture from art, scan it or scrap it! I have a tub on wheels under my bed, for each of the kids. Now, anytime they bring home a paper based artwork (even their reports and school photos, actually) I go straight to my room and pop it the relevant child's tub.

If it's useless, chuck it! Of course please recycle where relevant to.

 

If you use these tips and then follow the one touch method, you will find that paper piles are a problem of the past!

 

 


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