My greatest accomplishment this week: I can actually see the top of my desk for the first time in months. You see, I have a tendency to save paperwork, but, rather than filing it right away, I push it to the side to worry about later. And voilà—that’s how a mountain of paper clutter is created. But I finally got my act together, filed the keepers, and put my paper shredder to good use for the documents I could live without.
Because I am a bit of a paper packrat, my file cabinet brims with everything from interesting magazine clippings to cards from family and friends (I’m a sucker for sentimental value, apparently). According to HGTV Organizing Expert Pam Hix, it’s time for me to take action—either by dividing the contents in my overstuffed file folders into smaller, more manageable categories, or by tossing the papers I can live without.
Hix also says to avoid using paper clips when organizing—because you often end up clipping papers that don’t belong together—and the ones you intend to clip can fall out. Check out Hix’s other pointers for organizing paper clutter.
Though I could probably do without all the birthday cards, there are some items that are essential to save—financial paperwork such as bank statements and receipts. The University of Illinois Extension explains show to whip stacks of financial paperwork into shape, as well as those random loose papers that you want to save but don’t know what to do with.
I corral all my file folders in a wooden file cabinet that matches the rest of my furniture, proving that file cabinets can be functional and stylish. If standard steel cabinets just aren’t your thing, check out these nine attractive options from Jeri’s Organizing & Decluttering News. I love the Levenger stacking file cabinets. And in fun hues such as turquoise, orange, and chartreuse, the colorful steel file cabinets from Twenty Gauge show that steel files don’t have to scream “office environment.”
Of course, one way to avoid a paper clutter altogether would be to live a paper-free life, with electronic versions of everything, from tickets to reading material. Seem difficult? This New York Times article describes how it’s done. Ready to start scanning all your documents to clear your personal paper trail? Read up on the PC- and Mac-compatible Fujitsu ScanSnap, which scans all your paperwork without taking up a lot of space.
The Home Know-It-All