We are bombarded with so much information these days that it is not surprising that many people cite paper as the type of clutter that they struggle with the most. But as with most organising solutions, all it needs is a bit of time and routine, and those piles of papers can soon be under control.
Here are my five rules to help tame your paper clutter:
- Go electronic whenever possible: Utility bills, bank statements – you can opt to have so much delivered electronically. Do it!
- Open mail as soon as you receive it: Throw away the rubbish (shred if it contains personal details) and put mail for action or filing in a dedicated place. Ask your household to do the same, and know where to put the paper. I have an in-tray on my desk for all our action items and filing.
- Empty school bags every day: At the end of each day, check for notes and papers and action immediately. It only takes a couple of minutes to respond to a party invitation or sign a permission slip, then pop it back into the bag to return the next morning. Don’t forget to mark dates in your calendar.
- Check your handbag or purse daily: Rule 3 also works for your handbag and is a good habit to get into.
- File regularly: Make paperwork a habit by scheduling time each week to keep your paperwork under control. I file every Saturday evening as part of my “Week Start” routine. I pay bills, write birthday cards, action any other items for the week ahead… and then file it all. I love to start the week with an empty inbox – it makes me feel like whatever life is going to throw at me in the next 7 days, I have achieved something already!