1. Receipts not necessary for tax or warranty purposes
One of the easiest ways to get out from under paper clutter is to do a quick ‘purse dump’. Flip that purse and start purging! Some people keep receipts for everything. When I’ve taken a casual poll of my friends, the reason people keep receipts indefinitely is that they often don’t know the rules for receipts, or have no maintenance system to flush out their old receipts. The only receipts that you need to keep are those relating to warranties, insurance, or taxes. All others can be tossed in the trash after you’re sure you’ve been charged correctly for services or products. For most of us, charges appear on our monthly statements. So, having a monthly check and balance routine can help you manage your receipts. If you keep receipts for budgeting purposes, make a weekly time to go through them and record them either on paper or on software to keep track of expenses. Throw away the receipts when you finish. Here’s a helpful link to review if you’re stuck on what to keep and what to let go of.
2. Warranties and manuals for items you no longer own
4. Recipes you haven’t used or don’t plan to
5. Business cards
6. Catalogs and old magazines
7. Every piece of ‘art’ your children have given you
8. Announcements that have passed
9. Marketing and direct mail pieces
If direct mail marketing pieces continue to land in your mailbox, you may want to start unsubscribing to these services. Nearly every product or service available today has one. Direct mail is becoming less and less desirable as more and more products are available online. The average consumer is becoming more shopping-savvy and the current thrust is to simply order online. One great way to start unsubscribing is to sign up with an automatic service such as Directmail.com, or catalogchoice.org.
10. Textbooks and books you’ve read
By now, you probably realize that the inspiration for this post came from looking around my own home office! Well, I’m raising my hand here too! I have MANY old textbooks, resources, and books that have taken up loads of space on my shelves. (Although, I truly do like to blame this one all on my hubby!) The problem with holding onto old textbooks is that they become part of your ‘decor’. It’s as if you’ve assumed responsibility for all these things, and now you must store them, and display them for use. The only reason to keep old books or textbooks is if you’re likely to need that information in the near future. Or, you may have irreplaceable information that can only be found in books. But the key is to determine if the information within is available elsewhere. IF so, let them go.
By letting go of the 10 paper items that cause you clutter, you’ll ease up your storage space. You’ll also lose weight and feel lighter. If you’re not sure of what to let go of, work with an accountability buddy. And, if you have a hard time determining what is most important to keep, try our organizing personality assessment – the TSSI. This quiz easily pinpoints your productivity personality traits (and subsequent blind spots). Using your results to take baby steps that create more flow and organized living.