Decluttering: Paperwork

With the advent of recycling, saving trees and going paperless, you would think we would wrestle less with the issue of paperwork clutter.  I’m afraid for most, this is not the case.  The issue is real, folks.

For many, there are stacks of papers somewhere in your house waiting to be dealt with.  Am I right?

A couple days ago, I spent some time filing bills and purging last year’s files, etc.  It’s like any other aspect of decluttering, it must be done periodically to keep your system afloat.  I save way less now than I used to, which is encouraging.  I am a visual person so I still like to receive paper statements in the mail for most things.  As long as there’s a filing system in place, this is no problem.

One habit I established long ago was to open the mail over top of the trash can.  This eliminates piles of mail accumulating needlessly.  If it is a bill, I process it that day.  If it is something for my records, I place in the wooden inbox on my shelf to be filed later.  My system is fairly simple.  We don’t receive that much paperwork so this works for us.

I’ve become rather ruthless with the papers I actually keep.  I’ve realized over the years, these multiply quickly.  The less we keep, the less to sort through later.

Restaurant menus, business cards, sales flyers … those are almost automatic deposits into the recycling or trash can!  Newspapers, magazines?  Same!

I don’t have time to move one stack of papers from place to place in my house.  I have better things to do with my time and I’m sure you do too!  As much as possible, curb the volume of paper that attempts to overrun your home.

All personal or business papers we shred.  Generic papers we toss.  You have to guard against identity theft.  So be smart about it.

What other papers try to take over?  Oooh, here’s a good one.  What did you do with the stack of Christmas cards you received last month?  I used to save all of ours.  Can you imagine?  We’ve been married almost 22 years!

We have to have systems in place to keep our paperwork organized.  File folders work for me.  The challenge is setting aside time to actually file.  I’ve found if I do this at least once every month or two, I’m still in control of the paperwork monster.

Maintenance is vital with stemming the tide of paperwork.

Important papers (birth certificates, titles, wills, deeds, etc.) should be stored in a fire safe box or safety deposit box at the bank.

What works for you?  What’s your paperwork system?

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