Paper, Paper and Still More Paper


pile-of-paperIf you’re ever going to keep up with all the paper in your life, you have to decide on a system and keep tweaking it.

Read more about how to deal with mail clutter and decide if my system will work for you as is, or if you need to make slight adjustments. I’m cool with that!

One of the biggest mistakes people make with organising paper is jumping to the filing instead of eliminating the source.

1. Examine the sources of all the paper in your life. Write them all down.

  • Magazines
  • Mail
  • Printing emails
  • Notes from school
  • _________
  • _________
  • _________

2. See where you can eliminate or reduce the flow of paper into your life.

  • If you get accounts by email and in the mail, email the company and stop the mail.
  • If you and two friends read the same magazine, buy one every 3 months and pass it around.
  • Sign notes from school immediately and send back the next day. Don’t leavethem on your counter a minute longer than you have to.

3. Decide on your comfort level for accounts/ filing

  • I only keep 3 months’ worth of statements except for our water and electricity bills and that’s because it is a crazy nightmare dealing with Joburg Connect to get queries sorted out. There are MANY great things about South Africa; that’s not one of them 🙂
  • I have one place in my study for “things to file”. Since I don’t keep a lot of paper, my comfort level went from once a week (about 18 months ago) to once every 3 – 4 weeks. I can still get through that pile in less than 10 minutes so it does work for me.

Your turn. What are your good ideas on dealing with paper?

7 easy steps to organise your office
Virtual Organising Seminar – last one for 2008 happens tomorrow


3 thoughts on “Paper, Paper and Still More Paper

  • November 19, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I have catalogs coming in by the truckload, it seems.

    This year, I’ve started collecting them as they arrive, and once a week, I find out how to remove myself from each catalog’s mailing list.

    I’ve already noticed a slight decrease in volume since I started doing this at the beginning of October.

    Krys Slovacek’s last blog post..howdy, partner!

  • December 9, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I love catalogs. Amost any kind. Each and every one has my own private wish list. I find that they make good reading in the bathroom. I save them too; not all, just the ones that I like or that I order from. The rest go to the garbage. and I do mean the garbage, no recycling. Why no recycle? Answer: 1) there are enough land fill sites in NY, where I live, to last for sensible land fill to last well over 100 years for all of America! 2) To recycle I must put the stuff in the correct bin, drag the bin down the hill to the end of the driveway, and then drag the bin back up the hill. My garbage goes down in a black, plastic bag and is not returnable to me, i.e. no trip back up the hill. 3) Because of the slowdown in the economy, many recyclers are bringing their excess recyclables to the land fill anyway. America can use only so many thousands of tons per day of used news print. The remainder is garbage.
    Back to catalogs. The keepers are filed in an organizer. Each month as new ones arrive they replace the old ones; however, sometimes the old ones have items that are not in the the latest issue; will they still have it? Maybe or maybe not or maybe I can look else where. I put these old issues to save in a two drawer filing cabinet that I found on the curb. Works for me. Old catalogs from years ago have really interesting stuff like my J.C.Whitney or Sears Jeep Parts catalog from the 1960’s. My only problem with catalogs is that there is too much repetition. Take the “Sportsman Guide” fot example. I do not need to be reminded by them every two weeks that they still have thousands of used Swiss Army bread bags to liquidate. One catalog twice a year is plenty for the “…Guide.”

    Maybe Krys can do an address change to me so Ican get the excess.


  • September 13, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    jk, This is my first time, reading you colume. You are are very refreshing.

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