Six key questions to ask yourself when you're drowning in paper clutter.

piles of paperOne of the worst kinds of clutter is PAPER clutter. And no matter what you do, more paper comes into the house every day.

When you’re deciding whether you need to file, save, or toss a piece of paper, ask yourself the following questions:

   • Do you actually need this piece of paper or receipt? What specific use does it serve? I have a friend who saved receipts from her gas bills for five years. When I asked her why, she had no idea.

   • Have you EVER used such a piece of paper? Even if something looks useful — like a bus map — don't keep it if you've never needed it before.

   • How easy would it be to replace it if you needed it? Don’t bother with paper that provides information you could find again on the Internet.

   • Is it something that will quickly become dated—like travel information? If so, it's probably not worth hanging on to it.

   • What’s the consequence of not having it if you do need it?

   • Was it once necessary, but now related to a part of your life that’s over? Are you still cutting out recipes from the paper, even though you no longer cook?

Whatever you decide, keep that paper moving toward the filing cabinet or the round file (trash can). Nothing is more dispiriting than looking around to see that every surface in your kitchen or office is covered with a piece of paper that might, or might not, be useful.

One thought on “Six key questions to ask yourself when you're drowning in paper clutter.

  • August 17 2007 at 3:30 pm
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    I stand in front of my trash can after I get the mail to sort it. It is so easy to throw away when the trash is right there. I think the hardest thing for most people is just making that decision as to what to do with paper.

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