Ok - so the title probably sounds a little funny. Why would you buy a printer to reduce your paperwork clutter? Well, most printers that are sold nowadays have multiple functions and come equipped with a scanner. Having this little piece of equipment available to you in your home can make a huge difference in the amount of paperwork clutter and disorganization in your home.
I recently bought an Epson wireless multi-function printer that works great. Having the wireless capability is nice as well - several computers can connect via your home's wireless network and you don't have extra wires running all over the place. This may or may not be what you need, there are many models out there - if you're interested in seeing a few you can check out several on Amazon.
The key to reducing your physical paperwork is dealing with it appropriately. Although I always recommend taking care of mail and other sources of paperwork immediately, sometimes it piles up. If you have a plan to take care of this it shouldn't be a problem. Check out this article for a good plan to deal with your mail.
Now you need to identify what needs to be kept in a hard copy and what can be digitized. Some receipts probably need to be kept in order to be used if a return is needed. Those you can file away and take care of right now. The other category, those items that can be scanned, can be broken up into different types:
- recurring bills
- ownership documents (titles, deeds, etc)
- copies of letters
- non-critical receipts
- tax documents
Ultimately, the way you decide to categorize your scanned paperwork will depend on how you can best remember and store them. I like to have one file on my computer for scanned paperwork and in that folder I make folders for each month; in these folders is where I put everything important that I scan in for the month. You can also use a program like Evernote to "tag" the scanned images or write yourself a note that is linked to the document. For example, you can scan in a bill that you paid and tag it with the word "bill" and write a note about how and exactly when you paid. This way you can go back and search for that exact item and easily find it.
I have found that by bringing a printer and scanner into my house I have reduced the overall amount of clutter in my house by a noticeable level! Not only are the important documents getting saved but I have less paperwork sitting on kitchen counters, my office desk, the night stand, and other random places throughout the house. On top of having a more organized house I like knowing that my documents are safely stored on the computer and that I won't accidentally throw away an important item because it was just laying out.
Remember to be careful about storing and getting rid of your documents - making a backup is important in case your computer's hard drive stop working, and shredding paperwork with personal information on it is advised. In fact, I'm looking into shredders for the home right now and will write up my review and how useful it turns out to be when I get it. I believe that it will further help with organization and decluttering in the long term, and give a sense of security from knowing that my personal information is not going to be easily available for anyone going through the trash or recycling.