One of the biggest struggles in my life, has always been clutter. Namely piles and piles of paper. ?I have lost important documents, only to find them at a much later time; inevitably adhered to other pieces of paper by unknown sticky substances usually at the bottom of a drawer somewhere, rendering them useless.
Bills would be set aside for a later date, because why on Earth would I pay them early, when I could put this task off until later? (later being when I receive the second or third notice and late fees, tripling the amount of paper in my bills-to-pay-later pile)
If you have kids then the stacks are multiplied by homework, permission slips, invitations, order forms, memos, etc. It never ends!
When the hospital where I work got rid of paper charts and transitioned to electronic medical records, the resistance from the staff was astounding. Change is very hard for some people. I, however, was beyond stoked for this transition to take place. It would relieve me of all the stress associated with ALL. THAT. PAPER. (where did I put it? why can’t anyone read my writing? Why can’t I find the consent form that I just had the patient sign?)
It was a refreshing way to manage my work life, and I knew there had to be a way I could figure out how to eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the amount of paper in my home….And I did! And its glorious!
Here are a few things you can do to eliminate the paper from YOUR life as well.
PAPERS TO BE SIGNED AND RETURNED
For the most part, I have implemented a rule for myself that requires me to sign the form as soon as I see it, and send it back immediately. However, this is not always possible. So anything that needs to be sent back or filled out, on a later date, goes straight to my heavy duty magnetic clip that hangs on the refrigerator. (Right next to the calendar I use to keep track of all school stuff.)
You will find that most everything that you are billed for can be taken care of electronically. I opted out of receiving any of my bills by mail, and I handle it all online. For the bills that remain at a set price, I have them automatically deducted from my checking account each month. For the bills that vary, I also have on auto payments which I set up on the individual websites. My credit cards are payed automatically and I can keep track of transactions online, and I have also requested that my bank stop sending me statements by mail.
This took a little bit of getting used to, but it has been a tremendous clutter reducer…When I go through the kids folders, I look at it and then immediately throw it away. Yes, even the art projects that seem to come home on a daily basis. Papers with perfect scores, “excellent job, honey! Keep up the great work!” and into the garbage it goes. I bought 4 large bins that fit under my bed; one for each kid. ?I take the few things that I’d like to save, and put them right into their bins.
Throw them out as soon as soon as you read the instructions and set up whatever it is you purchased. Yes, you may need to refer to these at a later time, but chances are you won’t be able to find it when you need it. Instead, find the users manual on the website of the item you purchased. I have yet to buy something that doesn’t have its owners manual online, but if it happens, just get photos of each page and send them to your digital filing cabinet.
GET A DIGITAL FILING CABINET
There are plenty of apps designed to help you organize and keep track of documents. A couple of my favorite are Evernote and Dropbox. I use these to store everything. Photos, owners manuals, resumes, the pictures I take of important notices and memos so that I can throw the hard copy away, they all go into my virtual office. I also use these apps to make lists and can check off items as I complete them. The digital age is the best thing that has ever happened to me! These apps can also be accessed online as well, so you don’t have to worry about losing all of your important files when you lose your phone or get a new one.
JUNK?MAIL AND CATALOGS
Garbage (and when I say garbage, I really mean recycle bin) Throw them out as soon as you get them. If you still convince yourself that you will actually go through the various booklets that are sent to you by every retail store you have ever visited, then assign someone in your household to be in charge of getting the mail. Tell them to throw these out immediately. If you never see it, you will certainly never miss it.
I can not begin to express how much these little steps have improved my life. When you have ADHD, papers, and forms, and bills, can become incredibly overwhelming. Auto-pay has been a wonderful way to outsource getting bills paid…and on time too! I used to feel like I was literally weighed down by the piles upon piles of paper in my house. Now that I don’t have to stress about them, I feel like that weight has been magically lifted away. Try it! Let me know how it works for you!