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The Simple Secret to Living with Less Paper Clutter is Not What You Think, or Is It?

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the whole idea of organizing your papers. Maybe it’s not so much the organizing papers but the where to start. The paper piles are huge. The file drawers are clogged. You don’t know what papers to keep or how long you need to keep them. So you keep everything.

I can tell you one thing, less paper clutter has little to do with going digital. Most experts will agree, if you don't have a good paper record keeping system it's hard to create a good digital record keeping system.

Here's another thing I know for sure, ignoring how you feel about a paper is a root cause of your paper clutter. It’s not your filing system or lack there of.

Dealing with your papers is about going deep. Deep meaning being more conscious of your thoughts. Being more aware of how you feel about your papers and the responsibilities they represent.

We clip ideas for someday. Put decisions off for another day. Afraid to let a paper go because it reminds us of someone we love or loved. Afraid to let it go because it's something we might use. We hang on to useless paper out of obligation or because we might need it. We throw it on a pile because it’s just easier than making a decision or taking action.

This is true about papers. It is true about all the other stuff we keep.

So the secret to living with less paper clutter is simply asking yourself a few questions.

  1. Do I need it? Need is an important record or vital document. That’s it.
  2. Will I use it? No might. Will you reference it, refer to it or redeem it?
  3. Does it make me smile? Does it make you happy? Feel good? Put a big grin on your face?

If you answered no to all of those questions, why are you keeping it?

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“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” ~Les Brown

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