January 17, 2014
Practical Ways to Get Rid of Paper Clutter
This week’s focus is paper clutter and hopefully you’ve filed or shredded something this week. On Wednesday I talked about a few simple solutions to eliminate paper clutter. Today we’re going to talk about practical ways to actually set that in motion. All the internet inspiration in the world isn’t going to file those papers or shred those old bills you have stacked up. What it really takes is you, a lot of time (not going to lie), a lot more motivation and a little bit of inspiration. So today I have a couple additional things that you can do to keep the paper away for good. Do one thing or all of them and you’ll be a little closer to getting rid of that paper. Ready?
- Get a shredder (I’ve mentioned it in every post this week, but I’ll mention it again.)
- Get a file cabinet, or file box, or an accordion file. Something, anything will help!
- Get rid of unwanted mail. There’s a free app called PaperKarma – scan your unwanted mail, they contact the sender, and presto! The mail is gone. TrustediD is another one that gets rid of unsolicited magazines and junk mail (for free). If you’re sick of getting those pre-screened credit offers you can go to OptOutPreScreen to get off that list.
Want to go paperless or paper-less? I’m more of a paper-LESS person – I will never go completely digital. I love pens, paper, notebooks, planners, and all things office supply related. I do paperless billing when I can and online banking, but I still write down all my bill paying in my homekeeping planner. I don’t do a digital calendar or planner – I write it down on the wall calendar and in my homekeeping planner. There’s something about the pen to paper that makes sense for me and is more conducive to how I’m wired. Cleaning tasks? They go in the cleaning section in my homekeeping planner. You can see what I use by going to my shop here.
Here are a couple more options and ideas for paperless or paper-less living (I am not an affiliate for any of these, just putting the info out there):
- Evernote – a way to digitally remember everything
- Doxie Mobile Scanners – great for small items like receipts and checks
- Neat – digital scanning and cloud storage
- Want to send cards and invitations digitally? Paperless Post is adorable and they have a free section too.
- Digital photo storage? I’m sure that this is another post, but I use Shutterfly and DropBox, but there are lots of options out there for slimming down the picture stacks.
- How about pdfs and printables? I store those on Dropbox too. Did you know that if you have a tablet, like an iPad you can use printables paperless with an app like Notability that lets you digitally write on your pdfs and take notes with you anywhere? If you have a Kindle or Android you can use Note Everything or Springpad for similar results.
Any other ideas to add? Leave them in the comments!
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Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists Says
Love this whole series, Becky. So many people struggle with this.
My go to, as you mention, is Evernote. Any stray pieces of paper/info/biz cards, etc that I’m not sure if I should keep or toss get a photo taken of them and then they get tagged properly in my Evernote account. I can then toss them out knowing I can find that info again if I need it.
Becky SaysPost author
Thanks Meredith! That means a lot coming from you – I’m a long time fan of Penelope Loves Lists!
Sheila Oxley Says
Great tips! I have a problem with the paper monster!! I started a file next to my computer to keep the bills and paycheck in, it’s helped a lot. I’m also not someone who could go completely paperless, I like my calendar open so I can see what needs to be paid and keep track of daily life! I use evernote on my phone I didn’t know you could scan items to it!!! I need to check that out! I also have Out of Milk on my phone. It’s great for keeping track of what you need at the store. I use to write items down on a scrap paper, then forget my list when I went to the store!!! This way no paper to forget and since I always have my phone with me I always have my list!
Becky SaysPost author
I’ll have to check out the Out of Milk app – I just use the ‘notes’ option on my iPhone 🙂
Try Cozi app – you have grocery list, to do list, and calendar all in one.
I keep hearing about Evernote and I really need to start using it. I appreciate this series and I need all the help I can get. Thanks for the post and the inspiration to get more organized.
Becky SaysPost author
Happy to help TWan!
Some of these new electronics you can talk to, and they’ll write it down on the appropriate list for you. Don’t have that one down, but it is possible. Now if the phone would just simply go get the milk.
Becky SaysPost author
Haha! Isn’t that the truth 🙂
Another way to get rid of junk mail. Send it back to them. Most junk mail comes with a postage paid envelope. Cross out your name & address but make sure it can still be read and write please remove my name from your address list. Put everything, including the outer envelope in the postage paid envelope and drop it in the mail. I now get 1 maybe 2 pieces of junk mail a month. For charities, I will spring for the stamp and do the same thing.
I have a shred bag that I put stuff in and when full take it to my local office supply store and have them shred it for me. The medical paperwork is taking over our house, don’t know what to keep and for how long. The government doesn’t make decluttering easy!
I have used http://www.catalogchoice.org to reduce the number of catalogs I receive and it has worked well for me.
Ellen Delap Says
You can also get less paper with online explanation of benefits, flex accounts and credit card accounts. Having a great password reduces the risks. It’s always best to get less paper.
What is your suggestion for kids school papers?? They come home with a ton of papers daily and I never want to throw them away but I don’t want to keep them all either. I feel bad throwing away the work when my son can see it because I feel like I’m discounting what he has done and worked hard on….any ideas or suggestions? Also what do you feel is important to keep and not to keep? Paycheck stubs, bills that have been paid, etc
Why don’t tape the last artwork on the fridge. The rest you save for 1 month. Then take a picture of all of them together and throw the originals away.
im with you Becky! Laundry and mounds of papers. I’m new to this sight. I have tried Evernote – to no avail. I can’t even figure it out! But then I try pocket calendars, phone apps, etc. my problem is I forget to write them down! Isn’t there something that can read my mom and it’s there when I remember to look it up?
I use google docs for my to do and shopping lists. I can type up my shopping list when I am at my computer, and then when I am at the store, I can see it (and even edit it) on the google docs app on my phone. It’s really useful!
to Mellissa and all of you that have children, display on fridge first, then take pic of it and save on computer, or USB,
then you can toss the original without the quilt
Mary Lou Johnson Says
I own a preschool and parents want to keep every sweet little treasure. What happens over time, “bugs and critters” get into the stored boxes. I suggest to my families to find a “special” wall, post the work and when it gets full have your child stand next to it and take a picture (have them hold a paper with the date, grade and maybe a cute saying). You can have your child pick their favorite one or two pieces and keep it pinned on the “special” wall (you can have them toss or recycle their own papers, etc. The next step is important, PRINT the picture and create an album. Children, parent and grandparents enjoy looking at it for years. Also children that live in two separate household can have an album in both places. Happy New Year!