Organizing paperwork at home is not most people’s idea of a pleasant Saturday afternoon activity. Consequently, paperwork tends to get out of control in our homes. We make plans to file bills, recycle old magazines, and shred bank statements. And we really plan to, but somehow we’re once again faced with stacks of paper, overflowing folders, and drawers that won’t close. Consider reducing the amount of paper that comes into your home as a place to start your organizing mission.
1. Your incoming paper mail is a good starting point for organizing paperwork at home. Stop throwing your mail in all the different locations. Designate a specific basket or place for your mail to go each day. If you have a designated place for mail that opens the door to dinner demands and other household chores that need attention, you won’t get mail lost in the shuffle. When you’re ready to open your mail, collect it from your basket and open it next to a recycling can and your shredder. Put your junk mail and unwanted catalogs in the recycling immediately. If you plan to pay a bill online, please recycle the payment return envelope enclosed with the bill. Destroy any credit card offers or statements that contain personal information that you will not need to submit in the future.
2. Consider switching to electronic statements when possible. Stop sending paper bills and statements when you can. This will reduce the amount of paper coming into your home, which will reduce the amount of paper you have to sort and file. This also saves natural resources! You’ll still have access to the statements you’ve been receiving in the mail when you go paperless and can print them. So rest assured that online viewing and printing will be available. Many companies offer a paperless invoice delivery option; this is especially likely if you’re already paying your bill online. You may even be offered an incentive to go paperless.
3. A scanner is a good investment when organizing paperwork at home. Save space in your file drawer with a scanner without giving up the information you want to store. Electronic statements not available? Scan the document into an electronic file and shred the statement. If you won’t need a paper copy of a receipt for a return or for any other reason, scan it. You’ll be able to keep information without having to keep track of small pieces of paper.
4. Are you addicted to your morning papers and monthly magazines? Subscribe online. Back issues will not accumulate as you are reading them online. Your local library may have your favorite magazines. Read what you like and avoid piling up extra paper. Not to mention, you also save the cost of a subscription!
5. Remember to print only what you need. If a document is forty pages long, but only a few pages are needed for your documentation, do not print the entire document. Use your resources well, print on both sides of a sheet of paper. You can save paper and cut the number of pages you’ll need to file and track in half!
Organizing paperwork at home will be a much easier job now that you’ve taken steps to cut down on the amount of paper you handle. Do you still have piles of paper in your office that needs to be dealt with so you can start over? Try this tip to make quick work of them. Work from the bottom of the stack up. Older papers at the bottom are more likely to be old news, expired, or ready to be sent straight to recycling. You can clear large stacks at a fast rate. You’ll feel great and ready to do more when you see how quickly you’ve decluttered your office! Now that your home office is in order, don’t neglect it. A little time every day will help support this great new life!