7 Ways to Reduce Paper Clutter


Many people deal with the frustrating problem of having too much paper clutter around their homes, apartments and offices. It may initially seem insurmountable, but it's a problem that can easily be tackled if you put your mind to it. Keep in mind that the solution is not to go around and take care of the piles of paper that are taking over your house. Instead, solve the root problem of understanding where these piles came from!


If you're starting out with a massive collection of paper clutter, you'll need more time for your first de-cluttering appointment. Schedule a few hours to sort through files, bins, drawers - basically anywhere that paper has collected - and get rid of anything you don't need. This means notes you've written to yourself, but haven't looked at in years, crumpled old ATM receipts, and the like. If you find a scrap of paper with an address or some other relevant bit of information, transfer it to a paperless storage option, like your laptop or your smartphone.

Don’t leave papers stack up

This applies to papers you do not want (e.g. Junk Mail) and those you need (e.g. Invoices) The longer you wait, the more likely you are to do so, leading to missed payments or boxes full of a year worth of the Sunday New York Times. The easiest way to manage your mail is to manage everything as soon as it arrives. As for the papers you have to throw away, make recycling a regularly scheduled task, not just something you do when the documents threaten to bury you.

Cancel all subscriptions to magazines

Think carefully about buying them from the newsagents, too. If you must buy one, read it and recycle it immediately; don't cut out articles; don't reread. If you support a charity that sends a free magazine, contact them and ask them not to send until further notice.

Sorting your papers out

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E-book reading devices

You can reduce the amount of your printed e-books by reading them through the reading device. For example, Kindle or iPad are one of those devices. The benefits are quite big for a person, who downloads e-books and reports from the web and then prints them to a paper. When downloading them to a reader, you are not creating extra paper clutter in your home, by printing them first.

Have a safe place for your vital records to be stored and protected

Don't let your most important papers get tossed in with your To Do lists and other non-essentials. Scan your vital records (birth and marriage certificates, passports, original social security cards, wills, deeds, etc.) into your computer, and then keep the originals in a locked, fire safe box.

Label all files

Now is the time to go through and purge old files. Clearing clutter that has been clogging your files will make the files you keep more accessible and easier to retrieve the paper you have kept. It is a good reminder of what you have in your files. Your files will be more efficient because everything you have filed is the papers you need.


You can also reduce the amount of excess paper by learning how long you need to keep the documents. If you are storing outdated documents that you will never use again, getting rid of them permanently will save you a lot of clutter in your life. Follow these tips, and quite quickly you will have your life back under control.

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Mary WilcoxComment