With the advent of the digital age, many people assumed that we would naturally evolve into a paperless world. But nothing could be farther from the truth!
As a professional organizer, I bear witness daily to the fact that household paper clutter is a universal problem in our homes. Almost every organizing client I have worked with struggles with how to manage the constant influx of paper within their home and/or office. It comes at us from all angles…the mailbox, our kids’ backpacks, our shopping bags, and even our desktop printer.
Paper clutter creates stress because it represents a pile of unmade decisions and incomplete tasks that require our time and attention.
So how do we stop paper clutter in its tracks?
Begin by turning off the faucet.
Imagine trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant…pretty overwhelming, right? In order to effectively take a drink out of the faucet, you first need to reduce the water flow to something that’s manageable.
The same holds true for paper.
The first step in effectively managing your household papers is to reduce what’s coming into your home. The less paper that comes in, the less time that’s required to organize and maintain your papers, AND the more likely you will be to stay on top of your paper management system.
Ready to reduce that paper “gush” to a more manageable “drip”? Here’s what you can do.
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy
How to Reduce Household Paper Clutter
Action Step #1 – Cancel subscriptions for newspapers/magazines/newsletters that you never read. Research whether these periodicals are available online instead, through services such as Amazon Kindle Unlimited.
Action Step #2 – Politely decline flyers and handouts offered by vendors/salespeople. Tell them your family is “going paperless”.
Action Step #3 – Avoid printing documents that can be accessed online.
Action Step #4 – Sign up to receive paperless bills/financial statements and take advantage of online bill pay services whenever possible.
Action Step #5 – Call your credit card companies and ask that your name and address not be sold to other companies.
Action Step #6 – Contact magazines/catalogs that you subscribe to and ask that your name and address not be sold to other companies.
Action Step #7 – When you donate money to a charity or order a product/service, ask that your name and address not be sold to other companies.
Action Step #8 – Don’t fill out warranty cards – they are a way to collect addresses for mailing lists. Your warranty is valid without submitting your information.
Action Step #9 – Avoid entering sweepstakes or contests. They are a way to collect addresses for mailing lists
Action Step #10 – Take advantage of “Unsubscribe” resources devoted to reducing junk mail, including:
Dmachoice.org – Remove your name from the Direct Marketing Association’s marketing lists (represents approximately 80% of total U.S. marketing mailings)
Catalogchoice.org – Selectively choose the catalogs that you want to receive, as well as your preference for how frequently you receive catalogs
OptOutPrescreen.com – Opt-out of credit card and insurance offers
Paper Karma app – Use this app to take a photo of unwanted mail and the app automatically contacts the sender and requests to them to remove you from their distribution list
Systematically implementing each of these “unsubscribe” processes will require a bit of time and effort upfront, but doing so will result in significantly less paper (and less stress) in your life!
Want more paper decluttering tips? Check out this collection of paper organization and decluttering posts.
And if you’re really serious about attacking paper clutter in your home, join the One Pile at a Time Paper Declutter Challenge!
Join the One Pile at a Time Paper Declutter Challenge!
Get the Paper Declutter Challenge assignments sent directly to your inbox each week