Even in the most tidy and organised of homes I visit in my day to day life as The Clutter Fairy there is one thing that always causes problems and that is paper. It flows through the door of our homes via the postman, school bags, newspapers, fliers or in work bags. And where does it find its home? In the hallway, kitchen surfaces, bedroom, living room – in short, lots of places where it is never going to be dealt with and leaves you with lots of clutter, depressing you each time you see it building up and up.
The key to paperwork is dealing with it initially as soon as it comes through the door and then revisiting it on a regular basis.
So, pick that post up from behind the door, get your recycling bin at the ready and get rid of:
• Adverts and mailings trying to sell you stuff . It’s never hard to find info about things to buy!
• Envelopes – the reason for keeping them is?
• Terms and conditions that you are very unlikely to ever read. They send them because they have to not because they think customers will read them.
• Duplicate bank/credit card statements from a joint account. Better still – opt into paperless billing online.
• Letters that are for info only. Read the info, put any dates into your diary.
• Charity requests (unless you know you regularly increase your donations)
• Take away menus from any take-aways you never have and never will use.
• Any info that is duplicated online.
I could go on and on but you get the gist by now.
You will have got rid of at least 75% of the paper and everything that is left is needed until actioned or filed.
Put what remains into your intray in your office/study/kitchen. It doesn’t matter where it is as long as it is where you deal with your paperwork.
Try to deal with paperwork once a week.
Go through your intray, action first, shred second, file third.
For most people who cite paper as their worst clutter nightmare, it is more about changing habits than anything else.