This article by Natalie Conrad of Organized Habits, and a Paper Tiger Expert, tells us the key to keeping paper under control is to stay on top of it and gives us steps to do just that! Natalie also recommends Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management to get everything in your life organized — not just for filing paper!
Since the beginning of my professional organizing career, the most asked question has been “How to I keep up with all the paper in my life?” (or some variation thereof). Paper is prolific in our lives as Americans. The fact that we now have computers seems to have compounded, rather than relieved, the influx of papers. Even though we may receive less letters and billing statements in our postal mailbox, we are still inundated with the circulars, ads and the charitable and political donation requests.
So the biggest key to controlling the paper is to stay on top of it.
I have seen ignored stacks of paper grow to reach ceiling heights. Sometimes the paper is collected into boxes that then clutter the garage, leaving the cars in the rain! How do you keep up with all the paper in your life? By staying on top of it. Here’s what I mean:
You come in from work, mail in hand. Don’t just throw everything on a horizontal surface! Instead, quickly sort thru the mail and throw out those pesky circulars, ads and anything that is junk mail. By simply doing this, you will have decreased the amount of paper in your hand by 50-70%. Get used to the fact that when you think something is junk mail, you are probably right – it’s junk mail! Don’t feel like you have to open the envelope from your political party unless you do plan to make a charitable contribution. They are not sending you a check! Just shred it and move on with your day!
Now what to do with the rest of the mail in your hand? You have a few options here:
1. Look at everything right away, make decisions, and put things where they belong, OR
2. Have a mail basket or container of some sort that you put this mail in until you have time to look at it.
Going thru the mail basket once, twice or even three times a week will help you keep the paper to a minimum. The key, however, is to do something with the mail once you decide to go thru it. This means put the bills to be paid together, read the newsletter, add that “Save the Date” to your calendar, make a note of things that require a response on your to do list.
Like the Nike slogan – just do it! Getting rid of that visual paper clutter will go a long way in helping you begin to sort out the mental clutter. Did you know they were related??? More on that later……
Natalie Conrad is an organization consultant, speaker, and author in Northern California. She is also the founder of Organized Habits, a premier organizing firm, serving national and local clients in homes and small business settings. She is passionate about organizing as she believes that the clutter holds one back from pursing their life long goals and dreams. Visit Natalie’s blog for more articles like this by going to www.OrganizedHabits.com/blog