Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Taming the Paper Avalanche

As part of BlogHer's Life Well Lived: Getting Organized series, I've been asked to answer the following question:

How do you organize paperwork both online and off?

It was timely, to say the least. This has been on my mind lately. Last week, I did a major paperwork purge. I tossed things that dated back to 2007 and a few from before. I had a stack of paper, about a foot and a half high, on top of my filing cabinet. Why wasn't it all properly filed away in the correct folder?

It got away from me, that's why. I don't take all the responsibility, though.

It's the information age. We're a society of paper, paper and more paper. We're drowning in receipts, bank statements, copies of bills, medical records, school records, home records and more things that I can't think of right now.

Didn't they promise the digital age was going to cut down on paper? I swear that was one of the selling points to get us to all go digital for everything. Now, here we are buried in it more than ever!

What are we going to do about it?

For starters, I'm going to get over the feeling that I need to keep copies of everything. My bank went entirely digital over a year ago. Mailed statements were no longer an option, unless I wanted to pay for them. Because I've always balanced my checkbook and saved every statement for the requisite seven years, I felt like I had to print my digital statements every month. That's just good record keeping, right?


I'll print it, balance the checkbook, then shred it. If I need to refer to the statement again for some reason, I can look it up on-line. It's like magic, almost. I do have a tiny fear the whole system will crash and I won't have anything. But, heck, if the whole system crashes, who's going to care about bank statements? In all my years as an adult, I've seldom had to refer back to one anyway.

This will take care of a sizable portion of my paper problem. There's still more, though. There's always more.

How are you cutting down on the paper in your life?

If you want to read, think and talk more about organizing your paper, check out BlogHer's main Life Well Lived page and their article Ten Ways to Organize Your Papers - Online and Offline.

You can enter the current Life Well Lived sweepstakes here.


  1. How am I doing it? Not very well. I have stacks on the covered pool table.

    But I have stopped thinking I will coupon and no longer get four Sunday papers. I have folders in my e-mail box for e-mail I want to keep and I delete other e-mail. I have folders on my favorites to organize web sites I like.

    Unfortunately, all my computer organization doesn't show!

  2. I'm all for online banking and bill pay!

  3. Carol - I've given up couponing, too. It's too much work and too much clutter. I didn't think it saved that much money, anyway.

    Unknown - I'm really liking on-line banking now that I've opened myself up to it. I was a hard sell! It's all good now, though!

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. These are indeed great tips in organizing our paper clutter at home or at the office. A lot of people who are dealing with this kind of concern will surely find these useful. Thanks for sharing.