Discard paper daily. Knowing what paper can be automatically shredded or recycled will motivate you to get rid of paper that has been accumulating. Use the list below as your personal paper discard list.
- old shopping lists
- used envelope
- expired coupons
- duplicate documents
- paper holding information you already know
- early drafts of something
- junk mail: mail labeled “Resident” or “Occupant”, unsolicited requests from charities, banks or other organizations, unwanted shopping circulars and advertisements, unsolicited credit card applications and political notices
- information more than 3 months old: magazines, cash receipts, newspapers, grocery receipts
- outdated material: catalogues, phone books, directories, schedules, calendars, warranties, reports, notes to self, to do lists, maps, text books, school notices, announcements, invitations
- information more than a year old: articles, brochures, instructions, manuals, ATM slips, bank registers, paid utility bills, explanation of benefits
- paper that has incorrect information: business cards, labels, stationery, letterhead
Ask yourself at the beginning of each day, “What is the most important thing for me to get done today?” If the most important thing you have to do today requires more time than you have to devote to it, ask, “What is the first step I can take that will get me closer to completing that one thing?” After answering these questions, take action before doing anything else.
Getting organized is a common New Year’s resolution. Is it one of yours? If so, start small. Make a list of what you want to organize and then ask yourself what first step can I take that will be easy for me to accomplish? Remember sometimes the smallest changes have the biggest impact.
In a gift giving situation, I do my best to give a gift that will not add to someone’s clutter. I call these gifts, organizer friendly gifts. I give intangible things, like tickets to events, memberships to museums, gift certificates to restaurants, and gifts of time. Another option is to give things that get used up, like bath and beauty products, food baskets, and liquid refreshment.