Paper is the number one culprit of clutter in most any home or office. Staying on top of the constant flow of mail and miscellaneous papers that accumulate is a big job that never really ends. Here are a few tips to help keep the paper pile-up under control:
- Process Mail Promptly: Keep a trash/recycle bin handy and toss junk mail immediately. Have good systems in place to file, process papers and pay bills quickly.
- Make Filing Easy: If your file drawers are stuffed, you won’t take that extra time to put papers where they belong. Keep only current files at your desk—toss, box and archive the rest.
- Weed Out Regularly: Use the “One In One Out Rule”: Every time you put something in, take something out. Files should be cleared through 1-2 times per year. When was the last time you gave your file system a purge?
- Don’t Over Organize: When organizing you can get distracted and end up spending too much time on the details. Focus on the big picture, not on how perfect the labels are.
- Digitize: Less space is wasted when you store items digitally. Get a good scanner and save items on your computer rather than in files.
- Don’t Hoard Office Supplies: Supplies can waste precious desk space. Keep only what you need right at your desk. Store extra office supplies in a box or closet elsewhere.
- Know What to Keep: Knowing what you should save can be confusing. Speak to your accountant or lawyer regarding your specific needs. You can also check out our Retention Document for some general guidelines.
Remember, if you keep too much, you can’t find what’s really important. Keeping too many papers can make it more difficult to find what you need when you need it. Streamline, organize and enjoy the benefits.