Although I am a lover of organization, I do tend to find myself going through cycles with paper. Paper is hard to keep organized and being so thin, the mess sneaks up on you. “Oh, it’s just one piece of paper, I don’t want to deal with it right now” turns into a stack of papers so quickly! Those stacks tend to accumulate in regular places: the piano, the coffee table, the kitchen counter, the den counter, my desk, Luke’s table.
In addition to the 15-20 minutes I spend sorting through the mail each week, I make sure to set aside an hour or two every month to go through my papers and Luke’s papers. (I may need to adjust this now that Luke is in kindergarten; the inflowing stream of paper already seems to have increased tremendously!)
I must say, once I have culled the things that never should have been kept, scanned the things that can best be kept paperless, and stored the things that actually do need to be kept as paper (usually mementos), it is so satisfying to shred the rest!
And paper is compostable, so I get another boost of satisfaction when I dump the shredded paper in the compost pile! A win for the environment!
Need more reasons to go paperless?
1- When you need to find a specific receipt or invoice or whatever, it is much easier to search through electronic files than 6 (or more!) messy stacks of papers. Interested in optimizing your time? This is one easy way to do just that!
2- You can share those files more easily. We actually had an issue with Luke’s school not getting important papers, including the tuition agreement and after school care enrollment. When they requested that we re-submit, I did what I should have done the first time: scanned the forms and submitted them electronically. That way if they get lost again, I have a record of sending them, AND they’re easy to find and resend! (And yes, we did have to send one form 3 times!)
3- If you’re anything like me, you don’t even realize that cluttered surfaces are adding to your sense of overwhelm until you have cleared them. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I have cleared a surface!
4- If, God forbid, you should experience a fire or a flood, those papers are now recoverable.
5- Assuming you are storing your files on the cloud, you can access your files from anywhere that has an internet connection. No need to panic if you’ve left an important paper at home!
I highly recommend going paperless! And it’s so easy to do now – you can use a dedicated scanner, your printer might be able to double as a scanner, or there are even scanning apps available that you can use on your phone or tablet (my favorite is TinyScanner).
Get scanning and get out from under your pile of papers!