Seven Hacks for the Incoming Paper Avalanche

junk mail pileHave piles of paper all over the place – and you know the bill you need to pay is buried in there somewhere? Here’s how I keep paper under control:

Keep it out!
1. Get off junk mail lists. Do it yourself (my personal choice) or pay GreenDimes or 41pounds to do it for you.

2. Subscribe to fewer magazines. I’ve dropped subscriptions to excellent magazines that don’t fit my reading priorities right now. I'm relieved they're not piling up, taunting me to find time to read them.

3. Recycle up front. Any junk mail I still get goes directly from my mailbox to the recycling bins in my garage.

Contain it the minute it comes inside.
4. Have an “in box” for all incoming paper. I don’t use a standard office supplies store type of box – they’re too small. Something like this basket works well. All incoming paper goes here – mail, notes taken during the day, business cards from people I’ve met, etc.

5. Have a separate place for incoming bills. This is my one exception to #4 above. If I were more diligent about emptying my in box every day, or if I paid my bills on-line, I could avoid this one. But I don’t, so this is my accommodation to reality.

Minimize what gets kept and filed.
6. Toss any paper with information readily available on-line. I often note the relevant web site in my bookmarks (Firefox and Safari) or favorites (Internet Explorer) – I have quite the collection – but the bookmarks more useful than paper, since I’m always accessing the most up-to-date information.

7. Replace paper with scanned documents. I’m just beginning to do this in earnest, and it’s already saving space and making information easier to find.

One thought on “Seven Hacks for the Incoming Paper Avalanche

  • October 31 2012 at 2:49 pm
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    You can type all your notes into Excel and toss out the papers – but make backups of your .xlsx files to be safe.

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