Sometimes it is pretty common to find paper cluttered all over your workspace, heaped into piles, and shoved into drawers. Documents and snail mail can easily crowd up your desk and cause your productivity to stall.
Now, while the rest of your home is usually easy to sort, decluttering paperwork needs a little bit more skill. Not all the papers are trash, some could be bills, or other important documents that need to be arranged in an orderly manner.
So, when decluttering, don’t just throw everything away. Simply follow our tips below in order to know what should be kept and what should be thrown out. Read on to learn more.
The “Touch Once” Rule
The age-old golden paperwork rule states that for every sheet you come across, you should either act on it, recycle it, or file it. It might seem easier to say to yourself that you will do it later, but the tendency to create a long to-do list, in the end, might end up discouraging you.
According to productivity coaches, every time you touch a paper, ensure that you do something to it, as per the above rules: file it, recycle it, or throw it out. This makes it easy to keep the cleaning process moving forward.
Know What You Should Save
Most times, you will end up wanting to save everything because you think that you do not know when you will need it. Now, according to one of the greatest organization coaches, Martha Stewart, you should always ensure that all paid bills are kept for up to one year.
Any other documents, such as IRS tax records, your bank statements, and records of all deductible expenses should be kept for up to 7 years.
When this time expires, and you need to toss these documents, then shred them up especially if they have your name, address, and social security numbers.
It’s easy to minimize the amount of paperwork you actually have by sifting through them and trying to be more eco-friendly so as to reduce their source. Switching from manual to an online billing system for utilities, cell service, and bank statements will save you a world of pain.
Try to also scan any important documents with an app by using your phone camera. This enables you to crop the docs, enhance, and annotate them. Also bundling them up into a single PDF document and sharing through social media makes it easy for you to keep them in a confined space.
These digital files are then easy to manage through designated folders on your computers. They can also be uploaded to the cloud using Google Drive or Dropbox.
Centralize Your Papers
The more places that papers are scattered, the higher the chances of them getting lost. Now, whether you are using a shelf, or a filing cabinet, always try and keep them in one place. This is easy as it helps to maintain order.
This will also make your workplace become less of an obstacle for you while working. You should also consider a few touches that are able to make the space more appealing such as having a good lamp, some stationery essentials.
Try and Keep the Routine Going at All Times
After setting up a decluttering system that will work best for you, ensure to follow through as often as possible, by making this a routine process. It is very easy to set aside some time every week for sorting through your cluttered mess.
The key to decluttering is consistency in the cleanup. Always ensure that you keep your workspace clean and all papers that are not necessary shouldn’t be kept for longer than the required time. Maintaining a cleaning routine will make it easy to always remain organized at all times.