I don’t know about you but sometimes I wish the mail would just stop coming. Every delivery either generates recycling to store or creates an unpleasant job where I need to pay someone or file something. If I do get a personal card or letter, it seems so special that I feel the need to display it on my desk for a month before recycling. Can you relate? Read on: My colleague JJ Jackson specializes in paper management and she has some handy tips for folks like us:
4 Tips for Dealing with Paper Clutter
1) Reduce the inflow of “real” mail. Each time you sort the mail, ask yourself: Do you need to have this information in hard copy? Many documents are easily accessible online. If you’re trying to downsize your paper load, ask about paperless options for your utility bills, medical bills, banking and insurance accounts.
2) Stop the inflow of junk mail. Consider trying the free Paperkarma mobile app. It’s easy: you snap a photo of your unsolicited mail, and they submit the request for your address to be taken off the mailing list. The Eco-Cycle website also has some great ideas: See their page about “How to Stop Junk Mail in 6 Easy Steps.”
3) Once you’ve reduced the volume of mail, stick with a routine system to deal with it. First, create an “inbox” for your mail: a designated spot where you dump your mail. Then, schedule a weekly time to sit down and process your mail. The scheduling part is crucial; have a reminder system and stick to your “appointment” with your mail. Be ruthless in either recycling, shredding, scanning or filing the paper after handling it.
4) There’s no law saying you have to have a perfect organizing system. If you go for the “laughably doable” solution, you’re much more likely to be successful. For example, give yourself permission to have a bankers box that you label “2018 Stuff” and leave it at that.
J.J. Jackson is a professional organizer who specializes in Bookkeeping, Health Claims Tracking & Paperwork Organizing. Her website is Paperworkmaven.com.