Is paperwork a source of clutter in your home? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to keep paper clutter under control, either at home or at work. For some, a messy desk might spark creativity. For most of us, however, disorder means stress, distraction and poor performance. The good news is, we have 4 steps to help you tackle paper clutter.
1.Create a paperwork sorting system and streamline your files
photo credit: adventurousdesignquest.blogspot.co.uk
Tamara Rahoumi of Martha Stewart Living suggests a paperwork sorting system should be created based on subjects and priority. Labels such as “finance”, “education”, “urgent” can be useful, have your most important files stored securely in a metal file box, while other files stored in magazine file organisers (as shown in the picture above). Additionally, it is important to have a file drawer close at hand for current projects, suggest label: current projects; another drawer for documents relating to finished projects you want to hang on for a little while, and files you may want to keep for a while but don’t need urgent attention (We recommend clear this drawer every 1-3 months depending on how quickly it fills up).
2. Set up an entryway paper organiser or kitchen paper organising zone
If you are lucky enough to have a sizable entryway, “make it easy to keep mail in the same spot every time you make a trip to the mailbox by creating an organisation station right when you walk through the front door”, says Louisa Kamps of realsimle.com.
photo credit: idealhome.co.uk
Aby Garvey of simply 101.com points out kitchen is a natural landing spot for paperwork at any home, but this doesn’t mean your kitchen need to be filled with paper clutter. The solution is to create an organising zone in the kitchen, where incoming mails and other paperwork can be handled and organised.
If don’t have a lot of space in the kitchen, don’t worry, even a small counter-top filing system using a small basket or file box could help. One of the advantage of have a small basket or file box containing essential tools for dealing with everyday paperwork, as suggested by Aby, is that you don’t have to worry about lack of space for dealing with paperwork when you have guests over. Simply move your file basket or box temporarily into your bedroom until your guests leave.
photo credit: http://www.realsimple.com
Apart from incoming mails, other paper such as receipts, electric device user manuals, and business cards for local tradesmen and even takeaway menus can be sources of clutter, too. So it is equally important to dedicate space for items in those categories. i.e. a labelled binder for all your user manuals, a business card folders for local business.
3. Minimising incoming mail by going paperless
photo credit: lundin.se
Going paperless can reduce your paper clutter and benefit the environment. When you deal with existing paper, ask this question: can I find this information online, or somewhere else quickly? If the answer is yes, bin the paper.
4. Get rid of unwanted mail early, and declutter your paper along the way
Whatever system you go with, they key is to give your paper designated destinations, and act according to their urgency and importance. This way, you will reduce your chance of losing important files and/or missing deadlines. An added bonus, is that you will have the space to display the nice post cards received from friends and family:)
Try these steps and see if they work for you, we’d love hear your feedback!