Decluttering Your Paperwork

By Heather Gibson

Paperwork clutter is everywhere! It is part of our home, business and social lives.

It invades our homes and offices via the letterbox, computer, education and networking events, schools etc. Our dining tables, kitchen bench, office desk and computers are littered with it and it can be overwhelming it you let it pile up as well as making it difficult to locate the important paperwork when needed. Try our simple steps to help you reduce the excess:

  • Junk mail should not come into the building/home unless you are really going to reference it or action it within the next 24 hours. Walk past the rubbish bin after collecting the mail and dump what is not necessary. Most information can be found online.
  • Attach a No Junk Mail sticker on your letter box and if they don’t comply, call the letterbox distribution company
  • After you open the mail – get rid of the envelope, box and/or wrapping straight away. It serves no purpose to keep it and only adds to things you need to deal with later.
  • Create an action station where you pay your bills, reply to correspondence and open your mail. It takes minutes to schedule a bill payment and file it or shred the paper.
  • Electronic mail is another major source of clutter, there are some great courses to teach you and your team ways to handle this more efficiently but the basis is the 4 “D” principal. Delete, Delegate, Do it now, Date activate. That way your inbox can stay relatively empty and leave you to concentrate on tasks at hand.
  • Stop – before printing any emails and attachments – do you need a hard copy? Electronic storage is quicker, easier and more environmentally friendly.
  • Subscriptions to business or hobby magazines? How often do you reference them? They may be taking up valuable real estate in your home or office and most of these are available in an electronic format.
  • School events, invitations, concerts, other event reminders can all be diarised – any tickets required can be placed in a secure location

These small steps go a long way to reducing the amount of paper clutter in your life. The goal is for the items not to make their way into a pile of “to be done later”. Limit the amount of times you handle an item so it doesn’t become an overwhelming mess.

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