Smartphones and tablets may be more common than ever before, but there’s probably no shortage of paper in your home. There’s a reason for that – the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year! It doesn’t have to be that way! Clear the clutter and win back your desk space with these six tips.
Opt out of junk mail. Unless you can only get your kicks from opening junk mail (which we doubt), it’s time to opt out of it. If you have a smartphone, check out PaperKarma (available for both iPhone and Android). With this app, you simply snap a picture of the offending mail, and you’ll be taken off of their mailing list forever. If you’d rather keep your phone out of it, check out 41pounds.org. They’ll “reclaim your mailbox” for $35 – a small price to pay for paper freedom!
Open mail over the recycling bin. If your paper clutter is mostly mail, it’s time to think about incoming post in a new way. Instead of letting the envelopes pile up, make a habit of opening your mail over the recycling bin or near your shredder. That way, you can just drop the paper into the bin if the mail doesn’t require any action. Then, create an organization system for the mail that does require action – bills, letters you’d like to respond to or coupons you want to keep.
Switch to electronic bills and bank statements.Most companies that send you recurring bills or receipts, such as banks or insurance companies, also offer the option to receive statements online. Take them up on it! Making the switch usually only takes a few minutes. Plus, you’ll be helping out the environment at the same time you organize your home.
Embrace the scanner. Filing cabinets take up a ton of space and rarely match the décor theme you’re going for. Ditch the ugly cabinet and store your important documents on your computer or in the cloud instead of keeping hard copies. You’ll stay more organized and save tons of space! Scan everything into your computer and make sure they’re saved, then shred the paper. Next time you need to access a document, just do a quick search on your computer. Bonus: If you store your stuff in the cloud, it will be safe from unexpected problems like floods or fires.
Invest in a shredder. Instead of letting your paper become a huge mess for the sake of financial safety, just shred sensitive documents when you’re done with them! Most thieves won’t take the time to put a piece of paper back together once it’s been shredded, so you can rest assured that your identity is safe once the docs are chopped.
Curate your kids’ art. You may love it when your kids bring art projects home, but between school, after-school programs and playtime, you’re probably running out of display space! Instead of letting their precious art obscure your refrigerator or end up in random piles throughout the house, designate a special “art-display space” for each child. We recommend using clipboards that are low enough for your kids to reach. Tuck the rest of their work away in a folder, and let them decide what they want to display.