4 Tips That’ll Help You Eliminate Paper Clutter from Your Kitchen — Once and for All
Paper piles almost always start with just one piece of paper that you leave out on your desk or the counter. Before you know it, that one piece has collected a number of others, and pretty soon you have a mountain of them.
These are the worst because each paper represents a decision or some other kind of action you have to take, even if it’s just filing something away. Presumably, you wouldn’t have put a paper down in the first place if it was one you could just toss immediately (although this definitely happens too).
Then, sometimes, you might leave a paper separately out and about because it’s more time-sensitive than the ones in the preexisting pile. You keep it in your line of sight, using it as a physical reminder of what the paper is about or what you need it for. Here’s the thing, though: These kinds of paper too often become the first stepping stone down a path to another full-fledged pile (under which that first paper reminder gets buried, incidentally).
Not to mention, you probably get so used to seeing these papers around that they fail to act as the reminders you counted on them to be.
To avoid all of these problems caused by — sigh — a single piece of paper, try to start recognizing when you’re leaving a paper out as a reminder, then take action instead. Here are a few ways to do it:
Don’t leave coupons out to remember a sale.
If you want to take advantage of advertised specials, put the coupons in your car so you have them if and when you drive by the store and decide to stop. If the items you want to purchase are something you definitely need to get, add a stop at the store to your calendar or daily to-dos, whether they’re paper or digital.
Sign school papers on the spot.
Whether it’s a field trip permission slip, a check you need to write for the PTO, or an acknowledgment that you received your child’s report card, practice receiving your kids’ school papers with a pen in hand. Give the papers back to them right away. Add any special dates to your calendar.
Pencil in invitations.
When you receive an invitation, decide whether you’ll attend, and RSVP right away. If you’re not going, toss the invitation and add buying and sending a gift as a to-do. If you are going, add the event to your calendar and include the address as a note. Add a separate reminder to buy a gift.
Create a to-do item for scheduling.
If you’re leaving out a paper to remind yourself to make a phone call or appointment, instead add this task to your reminders or to-dos and toss the actual paper.
This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: You Need to Let Go of This Habit If You Ever Want to Be Paper Clutter-Free