Clutter Battle – No More Paper

If you’re like us you have plenty of crap stuff around your house.  Having home-based businesses can make it 10 times worse.  Our mailbox looks like a paper mill threw up on most days.  Tack on top of that all the magazines you get, technical publications, newspapers, endless piles of to do lists and notes, and let’s not forget all the advertisements that show up through various shapes and forms – well, let’s just say there can be way too much paper floating around. So, here’s a couple of options for helping to reduce the paper clutter:

1.  Use notebooks or bound calendars.  Instead of endless stacks of post it notes, try keeping a notebook, bound journal, or calendar around and making ALL your notes, to-dos, appointments, and shopping lists in this one central location.  The beauty of having a bound book of some sort is that you don’t have loose papers floating around and you always know where to look for that important phone number or email address.

Another idea:  try using your phone, pda, or computer for your info.  Most phones now do a pretty good job of keeping up with all kinds of contact info and calendar appointments.  Marry your phone with gmail and you may have the ability to have calendar reminders sent to you via text messages as well as being able to update your calendar via your phone while on the go.  Can you keep notes or task lists in your phone?  You might be surprised what you can besides make calls.  If you use your phone for this kind of info, you might want to check out services like to automatically backup all the data on your phone.

2.  Throw stuff away. You really don’t have to keep all those empty envelopes.  And is it really necessary to keep those ads, donation requests, credit card offers……. If you’re not going to use it today, just throw it away as soon as you walk in the door.  Keep a trash can outside or in the garage and dump it before you ever bring it inside.  Good thing about trash can near your car its always easy to throw away the extra drink cups, napkins, and papers that tend to build up in your car.  Also, don’t be afraid to fill up your local gas station’s cans – that’s why they put them there near the gas pump.

3.  Scan stuff.  If you have papers you’d like to hang on to file them away or scan them to your computer and chuck the paper.  Whether you’re using paper files or scanned files, be sure you have a well-organized filing area so you can find the documents you may look for later.  If you’re scanning, use a file name that’s a good description of what you’ve scanned.  Also use keywords or subject descriptions so you can use the search functions of the computer to locate files later.  It takes time to set up a good filing system, but in the end you’ll have the info you need, when you need it, and it will be safely out of the way in the meantime.

4.  Use email to reduce the paper you're using.  Most companies will email bills and statements in lieu of snail-mail.  That keeps paper from even showing up – my kind of solution.  :)

Its cold out these days, so why not use the time to get ahead of the game and get your clutter under control.  Leave a comment with any tips you might have for us as well.  I’m off to scan.  See ya.