How to Eliminate Your Paper Clutter
If your desk is drowning in files, drawers jam packed with receipts, and important documents buried under mounds of letters, notes, and pamphlets — it may be time to tackle the paper build up that's hindering you from having a zen workspace.
The first step is to collect all the paper items in your bags, drawers, and other areas of your home or office, throw them in a pile, and start going through them piece by piece. The goal here should be to throw in the recycling bin anything that is not a necessity such as scraps of random notes, old bills, and dated receipts.
For the important items that are left over, sort them by categories according to major life themes — for example finances, school, work, health, travel, etc. These will be the categories you use to organize, and easily file and retrieve, these items going forward.
Set aside the items that you believe you absolutely must have a paper version of (e.g. copies of the last few years tax return). Add these items to a paper file (labeled with the appropriate category) that you keep neatly stored in a drawer or cabinet.
For all others, set up a virtual filing system (that mimics your paper system) in Dropbox, Evernote, or the equivalent. Snap photos of these documents and save them to the folder of the relevant category. Then throw the paper versions in the recycle bin.
You don't have to be overwhelmed by paperwork. By making it a regular habit (only a few minutes a week) to run through the steps above you can significantly cut down on workspace clutter.
Images: My Unfinished Home, Sijmen Interieur
Want more simple living tips?
Learn more principles of minimalism by pre-enrolling in my free Minimalism 101 course. When you sign up you also get access to my full repository of over a dozen minimalist living and style resources.