Decluttering & Organising in Norfolk.

Paperwork Clutter: Banish it forever

Paperwork Clutter: Banish it forever


It’s no wonder that paper is a category of clutter that many people have a problem with. We are bombarded with paperwork on a daily basis –  letters, bills, mailshots, forms, flyers, brochures, receipts – to name but a few.

But keeping paperwork under control is possible. Like any organising challenge, it just requires a bit of time and a good dose of habit to keep it up long term.

So here are my top tips for keeping on top of paperwork:

  1. Deal with mail immediately. When mail arrives, resist the temptation to put it down to ‘deal with it later’. A couple of letters can soon grow into a stack if left unattended! Get into the habit of dealing with it in one of four ways:
    • Action – pay bill, fill out form, etc.
    • File
    • Recycle
    • Shred

2. Create a pending area. Some paperwork can’t be actioned straight away. For example – you may need more information before you can fill out a form, or do some research before renewing an insurance policy.

So, create a dedicated space for ‘pending’ paperwork. I use a pretty wicker basket in my kitchen, but a tray, magazine file or drawer will work just as well. Keeping everything together serves to isolate the problem and helps you feel more able to tackle it.

3. Create a filing system. Once paperwork has been actioned, it can be filed. It doesn’t really matter where you store documents, as long as files are kept together in one place and can be retrieved easily.

So whether you use a filing cabinet, box files or a bedroom cupboard, arrange your paperwork into simple categories. Remember to only file it if there’s a good reason to, otherwise you’ll be storing paper clutter. Research shows that we only retrieve 20% of what is filed – a statistic worth bearing in mind!

4. Go Digital. Opt for paperless wherever possible. Utility bills and bank statements can be accessed online, so there is no need to store hard copies. This will cut down on the total volume of paper stored at home and help you save the planet at the same time!

5. Empty bags and pockets daily. Get into the habit of checking school bags, handbags, work bags and coat pockets every day. Have you ever picked up a handbag and found it stuffed with bits of paper and store receipts? Throw them away unless it’s essential to keep them. Deal with school paperwork on a daily basis – it can really help you stay on top of things.

6. Admin Time. Schedule regular time to deal with paperwork.   An hour at the end of the week allocated to your ‘pending’ pile will mean that you start the following week feeling ahead of the game. Or you could do as I do and make good use of the natural ‘time gaps’ that arise during the day. For example, I’ll pay an invoice while I’m waiting for the rice to cook, or write a birthday card while I’m waiting for a phone call!

If you follow these tips you will soon have your paperwork under control.

Do let me know how you get on!

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