It takes no real effort to build up a paper clutter. I’m famous, infamous really, for it. Once it gets built up getting rid of that clutter is difficult. You can read about organization and buy a nice pen catcher from the Dollar Store but… you’re left with having to actually sort through all your clutter all on your own. That’s the hard part.
In dealing with your personal paper trail there are some sure things you can toss out. Pull over a trash can to file all the extra paper into – then take it all out to your blue box for recycling.
Here is a list of paper clutter you can get rid of right away without much thought or effort:
Preprinted envelopes for bills you pay online or at the bank. My Dad used to keep stacks of these, you would have been amazed at the amount of clutter he racked up on these useless envelopes alone. If you keep these give them a spin in the recycling pile.
Advertising, fliers and brochures which you intended to get a look at but didn’t. Last week’s specials aren’t going to be very useful when it’s now this week. Also, chuck out all the expired coupons.
Sales receipts. I seem to stockpile them in my wallet, purse and around my desk. If you don’t need it for taxes, guarantees or other real practical purposes don’t keep all those receipts. Let them be recycled.
Sticky notes and little pieces of paper you wrote something on and then acted upon and don’t really need the little note now. If you have accomplished the task set free these little cluttery reminders.
Articles and information you have gathered to read for a later time. Have an inbox or some like that and just stack all of these into it. Get them off your desk but in a place you will know to find them later when they are relevant. Or, when you have time to read them.
Bills you have paid. I pay mine through online banking. This means I end up having them sitting around my desk before and after they have been paid. I do have a folder for them but don’t rush to tidy them away. Instead they sit around awhile, cluttering my desk surface and getting in my way. If I didn’t write what and when I paid right on them I’d soon lose track. I’m trying to get better about putting them away, right away.
Napkins. In an attempt to be thrifty and green I don’t throw out napkins from fast food restaurants. Instead I keep them in my purse and bring them home. Sometimes a stack of them wanders onto my desk. I have to chase them away.
If you have extra copies and doubles of something give that to the recycling blue box too. Sometimes we get extra copies at the time and realize we didn’t need them. So get those out of your way too. Don’t keep them around for sentimental reasons.
Rough copies and first drafts can be recycled once you have your good copy. Do keep a back up of the good copy but seldom do you really need all those old works in progress once the progress has been made.
Once you see how much paper you have moved out of your work space you could feel inspired to keep right on uncluttering yourself. Have a place to put your essentials: pens, note paper, coffee cup holder…. and try to give yourself room to work and room to breathe. Working in clutter holds you back, spring forth and unclutter!