7 Steps to Reduce Paper Clutter in Your Home

We’ve all been encouraged to go paperless, but it seems like our world has more paper than ever! In fact, the most common organizing struggle I see among my clients is how to keep paper from becoming an overwhelming clutter monster. Even I have occasional paper piles. Organizers are not perfectly neat all the time. :) While it’s probably not realistic to go entirely paperless, it is certainly feasible to reduce the amount of paper coming into your home. That is the key. Stop the paper from entering your door.

Here are my seven tips for tackling paper!

7 Steps to Reduce Paper Clutter

1) Maintain an daily mail habit. It only takes 5 minutes a day, once you have a routine. Recycling junk mail and shredding documents after transferring them to electronic format can reduce most of your paper problems.

2) Go paperless with your bills. Paying your statements online or using automatic deduction is relatively safe, especially if you keep your passwords secure. (My favorite software for password security is 1Password.) Companies have an interest in keeping your information private – they want your money! They have mastered the electronic transfer of funds.

3) Limit the amount of paper from conferences or expos. Make sure what you bring home is actually relevant. If you don’t use the information within six months to a year, recycle it.

4) Only keep letters or cards that have deeper meaning. Only save your favorites in a decorative card box to thumb through when you need cheering up. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with Christmas and birthday cards. My rule? Don’t keep ones with just a signature. Sorry grandma. :)

5) Input events into your electronic calendar and toss the paper invitation.

6) Cancel magazine subscriptions that you don’t read. This will not only reduce paper in your home, but also save you money!

7) Keep your recipes online in a recipe organizer. Keep all your favorite recipes on your Pinterest page or put them into an Evernote notebook. Or click through this article to find the 12 Best Recipe Apps by Tom’s Guide or scroll down to discover The Five Best Ways to Organize Your Recipes by The Kitchn.

Can you think of other steps you have taken to successfully remove paper from your home?

Whatever method you use, I encourage you to lighten up and let go of paper!

Overcoming Paper Piles With Evernote

Paper organizing is major part of what I do in every organizing project, especially kitchens! People tend to sort through their mail in the kitchen and dining room and leaves stacks and piles and mounds and heaps of paper everywhere. OK, I’m exaggerating slightly. But not much.

Utilizing digital tools, you can reduce paper clutter. One of the most helpful apps I’ve discovered is Evernote. I use it all the time and recommend it wholeheartedly to my clients. I’m not an Evernote rep (although I should consider it!), and I don’t have any financial ties to the company. Evernote is FREE for use on computers and smart phones.

First, sign up for an account and download the app onto your electronic devices. Evernote will automatically sync all your data for you. Then, start creating notes and notebooks based on how your brain organizes information. Name them whatever you’d like – how you will remember them easily. In computer language, notebooks are like folders (that hold notes) and notes are like files. Notebooks look like this on my iPhone.

Next, make sure you download the Web Clipper extension for your internet browser, so you can clip sections or entire websites or articles.The Web Clipper is very cool, a necessary part of the Evernote experience! Now here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Build books-to-read lists (fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, self-help, etc.) in a Books notebook
  • Put home and garden ideas into a Home or Garden notebook
  • Copy or take photos of your favorite recipes and compile in a Recipes notebook
  • Take a snapshot of invitations or events you receive in the mail and put in a Invitations notebook (toss the paper version!)
  • Keep your favorite quotes in a Quotes notebook
  • Track your exercise and eating habits in a Health or Fitness notebook (I track my weights for strength training, so I know I’m making good progress!)
  • Record your mileage for business expenses in an Auto or Business notebook
  • Create a notebook for an upcoming vacation and notes about your airline tickets, travel expenses, place to see, etc.
  • Make notes for favorite blogs you want to read, restaurants you want to try, or movies you want to see
  • Place your personal and business task lists or goals into a Tasks or Things to Do notebook

Give Evernote a try and tell me how you apply it. The possibilities are endless! Remember, the goal is to reduce paper clutter, so try to transfer your paper piles into a digital format using Evernote. If you need help, give me a call. And in case my article was not enough to get you started, check out this comprehensive post from LifeHacker.

Enjoy the new world of digital organizing!