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.
The way this method will work for you is if you get in the habit of getting your potential paper clutter to the designated spot immediately after getting it. Don't make it hard on yourself - put the rack or box for the mail near the door so you can put it there right away. Receipts and other documents might go in there temporarily until you can file them away into the correct spot or put them into their own area.
If you get personal mail that you open right way just make sure that you deal with it completely at that time. Throw away the envelope and make up your mind if you are going to display a card or not. Don't let the card or letter remain sitting on a counter or table.
Now that we've got our paper clutter contained we need to deal with it - an overflowing box of mail doesn't do anyone any good! Set aside some time during the week or maybe once on the weekend to go through the mail and deal with anything that requires your attention. We rarely get mail that needs attention before the end of a week - setting aside some time lets you concentrate on getting through your paperwork at a set time giving you the freedom to not worry about it in the meantime. This method will save you time and a cluttered home.
Review - Dealing with paper clutter:
- Centralize incoming paperwork. Have a designated area for mail, receipts, etc
- Make this place near the door for easy use
- Set aside time during the week or weekend to deal with mail
- For personal letter such as cards, if you open them outside of your set time deal with the envelope and decide whether to display the card or not at that time.