If paperwork is a particular problem in your household, there are a few things I have learned along the way in my own minimalism journey that might help you too. So, as we celebrate National Administrative Professionals’ Day, what better time to turn your attention to your paper clutter?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

  1. Scan what you can: Obviously there are things that you need to keep physical copies of such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, wills, insurances etc. (you can find many online tools on this if you are unsure what you need to keep paper copies of and what you don’t) but everything else can be scanned and stored digitally- along with a back up- should you ever need it. The Minimalists suggest a scanning party for this if you have a lot of papers you want to keep in some capacity. This basically means inviting someone you trust around to your home who will help you scan everything and shred it afterwards. You can bribe them in any way you choose- with take out food or the promise of a day out afterwards- perhaps avoid the booze or important things might get missed! 
  2. Address things as they come into your home: Don’t leave them in a to do pile. I used to tackle my paperwork on a weekly basis, but even this was leaving it too long- better to do it little and often- so on a daily basis. Let’s say you get a bank statement, some junk mail and a letter from your dentist to make an appointment. File the statement, recycle the junk mail and call your dentist there and then or make a note to do it the following day if it’s out of hours. Then it’s done and you can relax for the day! 
  3. Don’t feel pressure to keep things you don’t want to: Someone might gasp at the thought of recycling their children’s drawings- but if you only want to keep one that has special meaning to you and let go the rest, that’s ok. Each to their own- better to treasure one than have a stack hidden in a box in the loft. Similarly, if you’d rather scan all of the cards from your wedding day or a significant birthday rather than house them all in a container- you are perfectly within your rights to. 
  4. Contact companies you no longer want to hear from: If you take a look at any junk mail- in teeny, tiny writing at the bottom there is usually an email address you can contact to let them know you no longer want to receive their mailers. It takes a few moments but it’s worth it to reduce the amount of papers that land on your doorstep. Do this every time you get something unwanted and you will notice over time that your papers through the door will significantly reduce. 
  5. Decline receipts: Receipts have a habit of being the worst form of paper clutter- especially in your purse, wallet or bag, so try to decline these unless there is something you might want to return. In which case, have a little plastic wallet to keep these in so they don’t get lost. 
  6. Have a home management file: If you prefer to retain your papers for the year, even if they aren’t really necessary, try to keep them all in one central location. A home management file is a good place to start. Just grab a large file and some dividers and think about the things you regularly get throughout the year. To help you out- here is my ten point system:
  • Bank
  • Water 
  • Council Tax
  • Phones
  • Energy 
  • TV Licence
  • Credit Card 
  • Home insurance 
  • Savings 
  • Student Loan

Obviously, this will be different for you, but it just gives you an idea of how you can separate your documents into easily accessible sections. 

I would also recommend that you have a list at the front of this file that breaks down all of your monthly costs and the total at the bottom along with your monthly income and how much you have left. This way you know exactly what you have coming in and what you have going out every month as well as what you can spend on non essentials. 

7. Shred anything that you don’t want right away: If anything comes into your home that has sensitive information on it but you know you don’t want to file away, shred it there and then- don’t create a shredding pile. It takes seconds to shred one piece of paper- but it can take up a huge chunk of your time if you generate a pile, only to have to go through everything again to make sure nothing important has crept into it. 

RELATED: Minimalism: Seven reasons to respect your space

Having respect for your space stems from and inevitably leads to having respect for yourself too. You don’t have to live among dangerous clutter that threatens to trip you up or catch your skin as you’re passing by it. There’s no need to have outdated food in your pantry that could make you ill. Once you admit that you deserve to live in a carefully curated home- your health will surely follow...

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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