Well, the holidays have passed and all of the craziness that goes with them. So - what's next? For many of us, at least in the US, we are getting our W-2's (tax documents) from work. That can mean headaches, stress, and lots of paper clutter, or we can prepare ahead of time and tackle the issue before it becomes a contribute to clutter. Continue reading
Organizing paper clutter is a common topic for many reasons, the most important being that there is just so much of it! Even though we seem to be going towards a more digital type of lifestyle, there is no denying the role of paperwork in the world today. From utility bills, to to-do lists, to tax documents, there is no getting around paperwork and the clutter that it can produce if you let it get out of hand.
What we can do to fight this type of clutter is have a plan in place to deal with the issue so that it doesn't become a problem. So, let's look at some ways to organize our paper clutter. Continue reading
Ok, the end goal that decluttering efforts have is to get rid of clutter over all. I'm generally a fan of anything that reduces the amount of stuff that you have in any form or fashion, and sometimes you can actually bring something into your home that will help. A paperwork shredder is near the top of that list for me - it's an item that is relatively inexpensive, improves your safety (identity, financial, etc), and helps declutter. As with anything that is brought into the home, you need to identify why you are bringing it into your home and how it will either help you get rid of clutter, serve a long term sentimental value, or be regularly used. In this case, a paperwork shredder will definitely help get rid of clutter! Continue reading
Our personal space is a reflection of ourselves. If you have a messy desk or your work area is always cluttered up people will tend to think of you that way. Additionally, we can make things more difficult by having a disorganized workspace. Think of the time and effort expended because of the following problems with clutter at work:
- paperwork lost in a pile
- tools not stored in the proper location
- storage drives on computers in total disarray
- bookshelves and file cabinets out of order
These are probably pretty common to a lot of workplaces and can make a huge dent in our time, productivity, and happiness while at work.
What to do?
Take a few minutes and clear off your desk. Do the best you can in a few minutes. It doesn't have to be perfect, but get rid of the paperwork clutter by recycling or shredding it. Put folders and files back where they belong. Grab a coffee cup and toss the pens and pencils in it.
Take a look at your computer desktop – do you need to clean that up? It can be really distracting to some people to have tons of files on the desktop; if that is you, take a minute and put them into the correct folders for continued storage in a more organized fashion.
How to keep it decluttered?
Hopefully, cleaning off your desk doesn't take much time. The larger issue is keeping it clear of clutter in the future. Try to get in the habit of putting things away before you go home for the day. Take one or two minutes to put pens and pencils back, put folders away in the correct filing area, and return any miscellaneous items to their original location. This should take just a couple of minutes and have a few long lasting effects:
- Clean area when you arrive in the morning
- Improve opinions about your habits (yourself and others!)
- Reduce the time spent looking for “lost” items
- Reduce stress from the above concerns
Taking the time today to get rid of some of your office clutter can pay off big over time. Today is the time to start implementing these changes. Start enjoying a more organized office now!
Decluttering your bookshelf can be a quick way to make a big change in your home or office. If you want to get rid of clutter from your bookshelves or bookcases, you just need a little time and your home will be looking better, more organized, and cleaner in no time.
Start by taking a look at the shelf in question. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What can I get rid of right now, today?
- What can I move to storage and maybe donate or get rid of in a week or two?
- What do I want to keep on the shelf?
Take action on the items that you can get rid of right away - remember, you want to get rid of clutter - so be sure to find items that you can part with. Is there an old paperback book or two that you've read and haven't looked at in years? Donate those to the library today! Are there old magazine, newspapers, or other periodicals gathering dust? Toss them in the recycling bin!
Are there a few items that you can't make your mind up about? Try to keep this group of items small as you will be more likely to hold onto them and have them come back as clutter at a later date. Some of these items might be books that you plan to read again, pictures that you might put in a book or store for later, or some other items that aren't the most important, but still have meaning for you.
Lastly, take the items that you know you want to keep on the shelf and put them in a stack to the side. These are the books you are reading, the pictures you look at every day, and other items that make you happy and fill a purpose of some kind. After you have removed everything from the bookshelf, wipe it down and clean it off. Dust the top and the backs of all the shelves. Make it a clean space for the things that you like!
After you have separated what you can part with, what you will store, and what you are keeping, place the keepers back onto your clean shelf, store your storage items, and get rid of the items that are going to donate or throw out. Remember, don't let those items hang around - the longer they stay in your home, the harder they are to get rid of!
When you walk into your home do you immediately see clutter in the entryway? This is not a great way to come into your, or anyone else's, home - imagine how much better you will feel with a clean entryway, reduced clutter, and the ability to make it happen!
There are several sources of clutter in the entryway, but most likely it comes from one of three places:
- Mail or paperwork
These all have quick fixes, but one of them might take a little time as you develop a new habit to deal with the clutter. Let's start with the easiest one first! Continue reading
Whether you are at home or at the office you probably have a desk that sees regular use. And if you are like most people you probably have at least a few items that seem to have mysteriously obtained a permanent position on it. More likely, there is little actual desk to
be seen under the various odds and ends, paperwork, cups, wrappers, and other items on and in your desk. Taking back your desk by getting rid of the clutter can be a quick way to impove your productivity, organization, and give you a boost in your decluttering efforts – it can usually be accomplished quickly and with very little frustration.
Start by identifying what you need at, on, or in your desk. A couple pencils and pens? A pad of sticky notes or a notepad? Your address book? These are normal things that belong with your desk – watch out for the following items and get rid of them if you have them on your desk: Continue reading
It is important to be in control of our paperwork; we don't always have control over what we receive in the form of paperwork and most of that tends to come from our mail. What we do have control over is how we deal with this source of clutter. With that in mind, let's look at a good way to deal with our mail.
Most people receive mail six days a week, this may depend on your specific location. Sometimes there are days when all that you receive is “junk” mail – mail that serves no purpose other than trying to sell you something or get you to donate money or some other distracting topic. We are all in the habit of getting our mail daily since that is the usual delivery schedule – but does that mean we have to let it occupy our space and time every day? No! Continue reading
One of my suggested ways of getting rid of a lot of physical paperwork clutter is to keep only what is important and to scan in anything else that might be needed. Scanning in your paperwork allows you to keep access to papers and information that might be needed at a later date (old and new tax information, bank statements, pay stubs, etc) through your computer and clearing out boxes or filing cabinets full of old paperwork.
Paper can account for a lot of our clutter. There are so many sources - mail (usually one of the worst offenders!), bills, old letters and cards, receipts, the list just goes on and on. We all have some way of dealing with this paperwork, it is usually just not very effective or doesn't seem to last very long.
What we should try to do is make sure all paper goes through one area. Instead of putting the mail down on the table, or the kitchen counter, or the bookcase, make sure you have one designated area. Even better, make a box or tray specifically for the mail. Do the same thing for receipts and any other paperwork that you regularly deal with. For important paperwork such as tax documents and receipts that need to be kept for a long period it can be beneficial to have a long term plan on hand. As discussed in the book, there are also good ways of storing these things on your computer so that you don't need to keep physical copies somewhere in your home. We will talk about these methods on a later post, or you can check out the ebook if you would like to get started sooner. Continue reading