How to Reduce Your Paper Flow
I've seen lots and lots of paper mounds in my lifetime and I've had it. Enough is enough. It's time that we, as a society, regain control over the amount of paper in this world. And what better way to do that than reduce the number of finely-cut sheets that we have to look at entirely? To make those damn mounds smaller, for once and for all. It goes beyond saving trees (although I love trees dearly) and runs as deep as our sanity. So let's do it.
Just. Like. This.
1) Unsubscribe from mailings! Calling Crate and Barrel to tell them that you no longer want to receive their magazine (which, by the way, you never even asked for!) is so incredibly boring. But I promise, it's well worth it. Instead of letting this task (and a physical pile of undesired magazines) pile up on your to-do list, give the 1-800 number on the back a call as soon as you see the mag in your home or mailbox. In my experience, the customer service reps are really nice and receptive and the whole ordeal takes about five minutes. They'll tell you that you may get the magazine one or two more times but then swear that that'll be it. They get it.
2) Go paperless! It's almost 2018 so there's really no reason to get paper bank statements or bills anymore. These are the kinds of things that get piled up, ignored, and eventually threaten to drown you in upset. By going paperless, you're making everything more efficient and easy for everyone so how in the world can you resist that?! Another task that may take five precious minutes (I'm not being condescending, promises) but is so worth it.
3) Scan when you can! Besides for those very important papers that the government somehow expects you to hold on to for the duration of your life (your social security card and birth certificate, for example), most papers can be scanned and then chucked. The Scannable app is a great tool and will even take the creases out of a paper before uploading it. Get it and use it! Got a health doc that needs to be saved but feels like it weighs 100 pounds? Snap a pic of it, email it to yourself or upload it onto the cloud (which should be organized too, btw) and be done with that paper!
4) Receive, read, recycle! Don't get aggressively sentimental about all of the notes, scribbles and concert tickets that come into your life. Less is more when it comes to sentimental items (don't even get me started) so focus on reading those sweet notes, enjoying them, and then sending them to the recycling bin. Rinse and repeat. I'm looking at you, holiday cards with pictures of old coworker's kids.
5) Input important dates into a calendar! Academic calendars, ballet lesson dates, upcoming knitting club meetings - those can all be added to your calendar (personally, I use the one on my phone) so the very-important-papers, with all the info on them, can be let go. It may take time to train yourself to use a calendar if you generally don't, so consider today Training Day One! Go get 'em, soldier!
6) Do more with business cards or let them go! Ugh, business cards. Best friend, worst enemy. My best advice here is to create a document on your computer (or Google Drive) to house the information you collect from various business cards. Ideally create categories so everything is organized and information is easy to retrieve. But let's be honest when it comes to business cards. If you come across one that you totally forgot about, say goodbye. You're fine without it and your own life has proven that. Strength.
7) Email important information to yourself! If you've got a loose piece of paper with *super important* login or password information (or whatevs), email the info to yourself with a subject line that makes sense and will come up in your search. For example, if your washing machine came with a serial number card, email it to yourself with the subject line "washing machine serial number" so both "washing machine" and "serial number" will retrieve the email with all of the very. important. information.
8) Get rid of manuals! You can get them online. And even if you couldn't, who even reads those things? No one. That's who. GOODBYE.