Manage your paper clutter

Paper clutterCheck out this story from the June issue of The Organized Executive!

Loose paper has a way of collecting in our bags, offices and homes. Receipts, business cards, notes scrawled on scrap paper and documents we print end up shoved in the nooks and crannies of our living spaces.

Take one day out of the month to deal with the loose paper cluttering your life.

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes if you are in the office or for 30 if you are at home. Go through every space and put every piece of loose paper you can find into one container.
  2. Set a timer for an additional 30 minutes to sort through the papers. As you sort, ask yourself:
  • Do I need to retrieve this in the future? Manuals, warranty information, receipts, forms for taxes and so on fall into that category. Immediately file the document or scan it to store electronically.
  • Can I get this information another way if I need it? If so, recycle the paper.
  • Is this contact information I need? Go ahead and log the information into your paper or electronic address book and recycle the paper.
  • Do I need to take action? Is it an invoice to process, a bill to pay, a note to follow up with someone? Add the items to your to-do list in priority order.

The key is to act immediately rather than put off tasks until later. If you simply sort the materials, without doing anything to them, the chances of those piles lingering is high.

— Adapted from Go Organize! Conquer Clutter in 3 Simple Steps, Marilyn Bohn, Betterway Home, http://www.betterwaybooks.com.

[Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/blaineo.]

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