5 Ways To Reduce Paper Clutter

Clean Desk

Image: Ultra Linx

 

Paper clutter is annoying.

And the more we try to get rid of it, the more it somehow creeps back into our lives: statements, bills, invoices, flyers, brochures, letters, printed documents, forms etc…etc…which is sometimes hard to believe, given we live in a world with sophisticated technological devices and solutions.

Moving to a less busy life involves scratching beneath the surface of busyness, to look for the not-so-obvious things that are contributing to our hectic lifestyles. Paper clutter is one such thing.

Think about the last time you checked your mailbox and found a bill or bank statement. You had to open the envelope, and either action the item or file it away for another day. Did you place it in a folder or drawer, or did you leave it in a pile with other paper documents? Did the pile increase until one day, you had to look for that document and couldn’t find it amongst the pile of paper clutter?

Paper clutter is also a physical reminder of the some of the tasks and issues we may be dealing with in our lives, and sometimes we like to file things away for another day because we don’t want to deal with the issue at hand.

Credit card statements remind us of the money we have spent, or maybe the money that we don’t have to pay for the things we have purchased. It could trigger emotional responses relating to financial stress.

Flyers and advertisements may remind us of things we need to attend to but “haven’t got time for”.

Paper clutter also impacts on our environment- think about the resources that have been used up in producing paper (both mechanical and chemical resources- did you know that paper is bleached?), the ink used to print the documents or the plastic used to cover magazines to make them waterproof. Yes paper can be recycled, but according to Clean Up Australia, producing 1 tonne of paper consumes 20-full grown trees however recycling the same amount of paper only saves 13 trees.

So we can see that the impact of paper clutter extends beyond the obvious of having too much junk in the house.

If we all make a conscious effort to either reduce paper clutter or eliminate it completely, we will have less clutter in our homes, feel less stressed and busy, and contribute to protecting our environment.

Here are 5 tips on reducing busyness through eliminating paper clutter:

1. Digital bills and statements

Contact your local energy/water/telecommunications suppliers and bank to ask if you can receive your bills and statements online. If you are in Australia, visit B Pay View where you can easily set up digital bills and statements, and can elect to receive reminder emails and SMS prior to your bill due date to prevent late payments. This also saves you getting late payment reminder letters when you have forgotten to pay!

2. No Junk Mail

Place a “No Junk Mail” sticker on your letterbox to stop the delivery of catalogues and other advertising material. Some organisations ignore this request, however if this is a problem for you either contact the organisation or find out if there are local laws or standards addressing this issue. If you are in Australia, it is actually illegal to place advertising material on car windscreens!

3. Deal with paper immediately

When you receive a bill or statement, deal with it straight away. If it is purely “junk”, place it in a recycling bin. If it can be paid straight away, then pay it! If not, then find a folder, box or some other storage solution to keep all such documents together in one place. Once the bill has been paid, then file it in another storage solution if you still need to keep it, otherwise shred the document before putting it in a recycling bin. Shredding personal documents prevents the theft of documents thrown into bins, which can be used for identity theft. Remember also that most companies keep your records on storage for a number of years, so if you are concerned about throwing out bills you may later need for reference, keep this in mind.

4. Say no!

The easiest way to prevent paper clutter is to say no! If you are out somewhere and someone tries to distribute a flyer to you, politely say “no thank you” or quickly read the flyer and return to the distributor. Self-serve cash registers in some supermarkets now give you the option to choose whether or not a receipt is printed for you. You could even use the camera on your phone to photograph information that you would otherwise receive in paper format!

5. Embrace technology

 Modern technology not only allows us to shop and bank online, and receive electronic communication- we can use apps to plan and diarise our days, view calendars on our phones, Google maps for directions rather than street directory books. We can purchase electronic versions of novels, send digital images to each other, take and store photos. Take some time to explore all of the technological options available to you: research some new apps that may help you eliminate clutter. Our local schools communicate via email and SMS, and even school lunches can be ordered via an app. Use Dropbox or Evernote to store files, documents and information that you can then access from any device anywhere in the world- saves you having to waste paper printing documents. Many government departments are beginning to accept scanned copies of documents rather than print outs. Some airlines no longer require you to print plane tickets purchased online. The possibilities are endless!

Reducing paper clutter may take some time and effort initially, and may require us to step out of our comfort zones. But the rewards are far greater, with a home or office free of paper clutter, allowing us to spend time and effort on things that are far more important than sorting and filing.

What are some ways that you are reducing paper clutter in your home or workplace? What apps do you use to help you transition from paper to paper-free? Share your suggestions!

5 Ways To A More Intentional And Less Stressful Christmas

 less stressful Christmas

 

“Where has the time gone?” seems to be one of the most common statements spoken at this time of the year.  Although we recognise that time is precious, sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season that we forget to treat our time as precious.

But having a less busy life isn’t just about freeing up more time for ourselves. It’s about creating a more meaningful life, and making choices that allow us to spend our precious time in the most valuable way for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. This all contributes to a less stressful Christmas!

Today I share with you some simple ways to use your time more intentionally this holiday season, so that you can create a more meaningful and less stressful Christmas for yourself and your loved ones.

 

5 Ways To Have A Less Stressful Christmas

 

  • Put more thought into gift purchases

 

Be more intentional when you are buying gifts for loved ones, by thinking about the person you are buying for. By being more intentional in your gift purchasing, you are also giving the gift of thoughtfulness and care, something that is priceless. Thoughtful gift purchases also reduce the likelihood of the gift ending up in landfill! Being intentional with gift purchasing does require more time and thought- set aside some time well before Christmas. Leaving everything to the last minute leads to a stressful Christmas and a higher chance of impulse shopping.

 

  • Spend quality time with your loved ones

 

We can often get caught up in the busyness of Christmas that we neglect to set aside time for our own families. By reducing our busyness, we can be more intentional and create time to spend with our loved ones. When we are running around trying to meet the demands of everyone else at this time of the year, we are forgetting to meet the needs of our own children. And we often create busy lives for our children- READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE. But when we spend quality time with our children, we are not only strengthening family bonds but our stress levels decrease. This contributes to a less stressful Christmas!

 

  • Say no to distractions

 

December is a busy time for Christmas parties, and you can find yourself quickly filling your calendar with end of year celebrations. But how many of these Christmas parties should you attend? Try to prioritise the events that you decide to attend- the obvious ones would be your workplace and any events with your immediate family and friends. Many clubs or organisations you are associated with may host a Christmas party too, however it may pay to say no to some of these additional distractions. You need to save some time for yourself, which leads to my next tip…

 

  • Don’t forget about “You”!

 

A hectic holiday season often results in people becoming run down and getting ill at this time of year. Late nights, stress and poor eating habits (and too much booze!) all contribute to a weaker immune system and the possibility of getting sick. Try to make time for yourself each day, even if it is just for 15 minutes. Take a relaxing bath, go for a walk, phone a friend or spend some time cuddling your kids. There needs to be a balance between the time you give to others and the time you have for yourself. If you are giving more of your time to others, there is an imbalance and you will suffer as a result. Parents have been conditioned to feel guilt whenever they make time for themselves- this has to stop!

 

  • Let Go Of Expectations

 

It’s easy to get caught up in what we think the “perfect” Christmas should look like and be. If we let go of our expectations and spend December living more intentionally and in the present moment, we can learn to spend our time in ways that add value to our lives and those of our loved ones. Just because we have celebrated Christmas a certain way in the past, does not mean that we have to follow the same traditions and expectations if they no longer fit with our current lifestyle. Be honest with yourself: what works well, and what doesn’t work so well? A perfect Christmas is not what you see in magazines or on TV, but it’s what you make it. Don’t strive for perfect, strive for special. For more tips on how to create a less stressful Christmas event, please read HERE.

 

We can make small changes to the way we approach the holiday season. In doing so, we create a more fulfilling time of year that allows us to focus on the important aspects of the celebration of Christmas. We can create a less stressful Christmas just by making some wiser choices and being selective about the way that we want to approach this time of the year.

We can choose how we spend our time, so let’s be more intentional with our choices.

How are you intentional with your time at Christmas? What are some ways that you are creating a more meaningful celebration this holiday season? Please share!