Guys – let’s talk paper clutter.
Tax season is coming in hot, and I know everyone has tons of different forms spread out on their kitchen counter right now.
Paper is one of the easiest things to accumulate. I’m willing to bet that nearly every day of the week, at least one piece of paper makes its way into your home or office. And that’s with us living in a mainly digital world! Imagine what it used to be like.
Why keeping most of our papers is unnecessary
So, why do we let so much paper accumulate? For whatever reason, we feel attached to our papers. The question of “what if I need to reference this one day” rings constantly in our heads whenever we try to sift through our piles of paper clutter.
The bottom line is, if it were truly important to you, you would have it stored virtually anyway. God forbid your house catches on fire tomorrow and you lose everything – including those papers you held on to.
We’re taught that we should keep our most important papers in our homes, when in reality the safest place to keep them is virtually on a cloud. This way, no matter what happens, we always have access to them.
It takes some time to reframe your thinking around this topic, but I promise, holding on to physical papers is unnecessary 9 times out 10. I have a great mini-training in my Facebook group that walks through which types of documents should be held on to physically, which should be stored virtually, and which should just be shredded. Not a member of the group yet? Join now!
Organization systems to manage incoming papers
Once you ditch papers you don’t need and back up the ones you do, it’s time to figure out how to manage any future incoming papers. Implementing paper organization systems in your home or office is key so things don’t pile up.
Having a filing cabinet for things you have to keep for a little while, like tax documents or health records (but make sure to back these up, y’all!)
Having a vertical desk organizer for papers you’re actively working through, like bills or credit card statements
Having an “inbox” for mail you need to read or papers you need to address, a.k.a. anything you haven’t opened yet
Having a recycling bin within arm’s reach so you can immediately toss any papers that you know are junk
Do you have any good paper organization systems going on in your home? Don’t be afraid to comment them down below!
Paper organization tips to maintain control
With decluttering done and systems established, there’s only a few things left that you need to do to make sure your papers never get out of control again. I’ve got a few paper organization tips for you to help you out. They are:
Back anything important up on to a cloud. Yes, a hard drive is great, but it can also get destroyed in a fire. You can access your files on a cloud nearly anywhere you go.
Go as paperless as you can so that the “inbox” we discussed in the previous section doesn’t see as many incoming papers. Opt in to paperless billing, use your healthcare provider’s online portal, etc. The less you have coming in to your physical space, the easier it is to maintain it.
Only hold on to papers – both physical and digital – for however long is necessary. I promise you, you don’t need that tax form from 2010. I run through the typical recommendations for a document’s life span in the Facebook training I mentioned earlier. Be sure to check it out!
If you're looking to get organized this year, consider getting some solid paper management systems in place so paper clutter doesn't hold you back anymore. And if you find yourself needing some help or just a little accountability, don't hesitate to contact me!
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